Thursday, 15 August 2013

Kitchen Garden Fun Day at Longshaw

The Kitchen Garden volunteers at the National Trust’s Longshaw Estate in the Peak District are opening the garden up for an afternoon of hands-on family activities, on Sunday 1st September from 12.00 to 4.00 pm.

Visitors of all ages are welcome to come and explore the garden, join in some fun hands-on activities, such as printing with veg and vegetable heads, sowing seeds or having a go at the garden quiz. There will be plenty for everyone to do, and the event is a drop-in event with free activities. 

Longshaw’s Kitchen Garden was set up as a project run by a team of volunteers, and has grown in abundance, producing fantastic crops of healthy and tasty fruit and vegetables.  Lots of the seasonal produce is served in the Longshaw Visitor Centre as a part of the daily menu, and this year visitors to the event will also be able to enjoy a special dish on the day. Plants grown at Longshaw will also be on sale.

Community & Learning Officer, Jenny Gerrans, says:  “The Kitchen Garden Open Day gives people a chance to have a look at how fruit and vegetables grow, and may inspire people to grow their own food at home or on an allotment.   The friendly team of volunteers have lined up an excellent range of activities so why not come to Longshaw and pop in to the kitchen garden to see what’s on offer?”

The Kitchen Garden Open Day is on Sunday 1st September 12pm – 4pm, and is a drop-in event.  The Kitchen Garden is just behind the Longshaw Visitor Centre. The event is free. For more information please contact the National Trust in the Peak District on

Tuesday, 13 August 2013

The Hidden Peak sportive returns!

Our annual sportive is returning to the Peak District on 20 October 2013. Starting at Lady Manners School in Bakwell, 3 routes will take you round some stunning places in the Peak District. Go to our partners site, Dakr and White Challenge Events, for more details and to book your place:

Monday, 12 August 2013

We have an allotment plot in Sheffield

National Trust Peak District become tenants of a Sheffield Allotment plot in Partnership with Sheffield Organic Food Initiative (SOFI).

The National Trust have just signed the tenancy agreement on an allotment on the Hagg Lane Site, Sheffield. This is an exciting new project set up by the National Trust, Peak District team and the Sheffield Organic Food Initiative. 

The objective of the site is to create a shared community growing space, working in conjunction with Sheffield Organic Food Initiative, which also engages with younger volunteers. Together they will develop the site into an Edible Food Garden where mainly perennial fruit and vegetables are grown. This type of gardening mimics the structure and function of forest ecosystems, and requires choosing and planting a range of diverse and productive crops for food, wood, dyes, herbs and so on. It can also include spaces for relaxing and growing vegetables.

Currently the site is over grown but has many fruit trees and bushes and some structural features and volunteers are sought to get involved in tidying up the plot and helping with the planning for the sites development. It is on the Hagg Lane site over looking Rivelin Valley and has good links to public transport meaning it will be easy for the local community to get involved which we are actively encouraging.

Rachel Mora-Bannon, Peak District Volunteer Programmes Manager says’ We are really excited about this partnership in Sheffield. We are going to take some of the expertise in fruit and vegetable gardening we have gained in the Longshaw Kitchen Garden and share it with the young people of Sheffield. Working with SOFI and their knowledge in organic gardening and permaculture will enable us to explore new techniques away from more traditional gardening.’ 
Individuals who are interested in volunteering on the project are invited to contact Rachel by email at

Thursday, 8 August 2013

High Peak Moors Vision & Plan: Update August 2013

The High Peak Moors Vision and Plan sets out what we hope this amazing landscape will be like over the next 50 years. The draft plan received over 400 comments.  
We've produced a general response to the comments we've received so that you can see the scope of feedback we've had and how we are proposing to work with it. This is now available via this website  
The final plan will be launched this Autumn.

Could you help a bird survey take flight in the Peak District?

The Moors for the Future Partnership is asking people to help with a bird survey as they walk in the Peak District uplands.
The organisation wants walkers to keep an eye out for three key moorland species – the swallow, red grouse and curlew – to find out how they are responding to climate change.
 The red grouse is seen all year round, often flying out of 
heather when disturbed. It is plump, short-legged, 
dark brown, with a barking call.
Anyone can take part and it’s simple and easy to do while out on a walk, and great fun to learn how to identify these beautiful birds.  Survey postcards can be collected at Peak District National Park visitor centres in Bakewell, Castleton, Edale or Derwent, or downloaded at

Pictures and descriptions of the birds are provided to help identification, and people are asked to jot down their sightings, with the date and place, on the postcards.  They can then submit their records online at, drop them off at the visitor centre, or stick a stamp on the postcard and mail it back.  

Gareth Roberts, Community Science Project manager, said: “This data will help make a real difference to national climate change initiatives. We’re appealing to everyone from young families to older walkers to take part.  These are simple surveys which most people can do.

“It can add interest to your walk and help us learn how climate change is affecting distribution and numbers of these iconic birds.

The light-brown, speckled curlew is well camouflaged 
on moorland. It has a long bill, long legs and a 
bubbling ‘curlew’ call.

“For instance, swallows’ migration patterns may change with rising temperatures, red grouse may seek cooler habitats and curlews’ food sources may become scarce. By finding out what is happening we can understand better how to protect them. We’d be really grateful for any help people can give.”

Gareth is running the survey for the rest of the summer and into the autumn, and the survey will be repeated annually.

The Community Science Project aims to involve local people and visitors in moorland conservation through scientific research in the Peak District National Park and South Pennines.  It is hoped that local volunteers will be inspired to help look after the environment of their moorlands for the long-term.

Volunteers are also already involved in a bumblebee survey on the moors – find out more at
The Community Science Project is supported by the Peak District National Park Authority, Heritage Lottery Fund, Environment Agency, Yorkshire Water, United Utilities, Natural England and the National Trust.

Friday, 2 August 2013

Moor Art

School makes “moor art” for Discovery Centre – Ecclesall Juniors become wildlife sculptors in unique art project

If you go down to the moors today, you might see a mountain hare or a ceramic stoat!  During spring, the Moorland Discovery Centre team at the National Trust’s Longshaw Estate teamed up with Ecclesall Junior School and local artist Caroline Chouler-Tissier from Buxton. The pupils from Ecclesall Juniors worked hard in groups to bring their interpretations of the moorland wildlife to life by creating cool clay sculptures.

The project got off to a shaky start as heavy snow challenged whether it could go ahead, but dates were rearranged and finally the snow melted. 18 pupils came out to the Moorland Discovery Centre at Longshaw, where the project was based. The task was to create some permanent artwork to be displayed in moorland planter beds in the grounds of the centre, in a small area called Ward’s Croft.

The first day getting out onto the moors and investigating the wildlife on a moorland walk, and doing sketches using charcoal to get the pupils inspired by the landscape. The groups made clay plates with different moorland food chains including plants and creatures. On Day two Caroline taught the group various techniques to use while working with the clay, these skills were then put to use, creating life sized creatures, including a stoat, a hen harrier, a snow hare and a grouse. Caroline then took all the clay creations away to be fired in a kiln.

A couple of weeks later Ecclesall Juniors and Caroline, along with all the art creations still in one piece, returned to the Moorland Discovery Centre. The last day was a busy one, with all the final pieces needing to be glazed. Tough decisions had to be made to select appropriate colours for each piece, the creatures were glazed. One pupil said “Caroline’s really helped us to learn about how to make a clay sculpture from the start to the end – and it stood up!”

Sarah Taylor, visitor Experience Intern for the National Trust at Longshaw, who coordinated the project from start to finish as a part of her internship, says: “Working with Caroline who is an amazing artist, and Ecclesall Juniors who got stuck into learning about ceramics and moorland wildlife, really made the project special. It was a unique experience for to organise such a project, especially as the final sculptures look so impressive!”

The sculptures have now been installed and are on show in the Moorland Discovery Centre grounds for all to see.  The plates are displayed on the sides of the beds and the moorland wildlife has been made to feel at home in the planter beds. If you would like to see the final pieces in place, feel free to have a look in the grounds of the centre, or call the centre staff on 01433 637907 to arrange a visit.