Safeguarding the future of Stanage

From: Terry Howard

Secretary to Sheffield Campaign for Access to Moorland

APRIL 24 marks the 80th anniversary of one of the most significant events in the century-old campaign for access to mountain and moorland, the Kinder Mass Trespass.

It also marks the 30th anniversary of the acquisition of Kinder by the National Trust guaranteeing access for all time for walkers and climbers.

Kinder is the iconic mountain. It has thrilled, challenged and inspired very many generations of walkers and climbers.

But there is another iconic place on the doorstep of Sheffield, Stanage Edge. It, too, has witnessed trespass walks in the distant past where gamekeepers tried to keep people of the edges and moorland. It too challenges and inspires (nor forgetting Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte) with its unbroken skyline of vertical rocks. Today most of Stanage in owned by the Peak District National Park Authority so is its future secure?

For a while the National Park Authority has been involved in “Disposal Options” that is relieving itself of the management of several public assets. What has always been a concern in this process was if the new land managers or even its new “owners” were not as public spirited recognising the access benefits to walkers, climbers and visitors.

What we don’t want to see again are the restrictions imposed in the past, neither do we want to see the commercialisation or urbanising (more car parks) on the Estate. Over these latter years via the inspirational and forward thinking Stanage Forum we have witnessed and experienced many new access opportunities, new footpaths and access to to a ruined chapel, a heritage feature. Whoever takes over the management hopefully will still recognise the public benefits the estate offers.

All walkers, climbers and if fact anybody with an interest in Stanage and the North Lees Estate need to involve themselves in any public consultation on this disposal in what is a public asset and ask the question is the future of Stanage and North Lees safe in whosever hands it may land in.