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Timeline of major Peak District events

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Some milestones along the way

  • 2021 - April 17 is the 70th birthday of the Peak District National Park.
  • 2021 - April sees the end of 70kfor70 campaign which raised £70k for access and conservation to celebrate the 70th anniversary
  • 2019 - Millers Dale Station is refurbished and opened as a café and information point for the Monsal Trail.
  • 2019 - 70 years since the National Parks and Access to the Countryside Act.
  • 2019 - The Peak District National Park Foundation is registered.
  • 2017 - South West Peak Landscape Partnership is launched and Castleton visitor centre re-opens as the flagship centre for the National Park with new museum and café facilities.
  • 2016 - €16M MoorLIFE 2020 project gets underway to conserve and protect the Peak District and Pennine moors.
  • 2015 - Peak District voted one of England’s top ten places in RTPI awards based on the role planners played in helping create, protect or shape them.
  • 2012 - The tunnels on the Monsal Trail are re-opened.
  • 2004 - 50th anniversary of the Peak District National Park's Ranger Service. The Peak District is the first area to introduce Open Access under the CRoW Act. Access land in the National Park doubles to 550 square km.
  • 2003 - Moors for the Future Partnership is set up to restore and protect the high moorlands. National park rangers assist the fire services to fight serious moorland fires, mainly around Kinder and Bleaklow.
  • 2001 - On 17 April, The Peak District National Park celebrates its 50th anniversary. National outbreak of Foot and Mouth Disease has a big impact on Peak District communities. The Peak District Environmental Quality mark is set up to demonstrate sustainable businesses reducing impact on the environment and supporting communities.
  • 2000 - Countryside and Rights of Way (CRoW) Act gives walkers rights to roam on more areas of the national park in open countryside.
  • 1995 - Thornhill Trail is opened.
  • 1993 - Langsett Barn opens as a briefing centre, information centre and community centre providing improved facilities for the north-east corner of the park.
  • 1991 - The 40th anniversary of the national park is significant for the increase in access land on the eastern side of the park. Agreements are reached with Chatsworth Estates covering the moors above the parkland and with Sheffield City Council for 2,073 acres of Houndkirk, Burbage and Hathersage moors. The total access area is now 81 square miles (half the total area of open country in the park).
  • 1987 - The Festival of National Parks takes place at Chatsworth in September. This was attended by Princess Diana and 15,000 people, and was without doubt the largest public event ever held by the National Park.
  • 1984-1987 - The Countryside Commission-sponsored National Parks Awareness Campaign runs between 1984 and 1987 including  the Cave Dale Rally (1986) and Artists in National Parks project (1987).
  • 1984 - The largest holding of land to date is brought into the ownership of the national park when the 2,509-hectare Eastern Moors Estate was purchased from Severn Trent Water in order to provide access, and also safeguard ecological and archaeological sites.
  • 1982 - The 50th anniversary of the Kinder Mass Trespass.
  • 1981 - The Wildlife and Countryside Act is passed, the first comprehensive protection of listed species and habitats, and includes conservation schemes like Countryside Stewardship. Severn Trent Water in partnership with the then Peak Park Joint Planning Board pioneered the opening of Ladybower Reservoir and the removal of roadside fences. The Monsal Trail is opened.
  • 1979 - The Peak District National Park rangers celebrate their 25th anniversary.
  • 1976 - The Peak District suffers drought and many devastating moorland fires around the National Park.
  • 1974 - The Sandford Committee recommends that national parks should have larger budgets and more staff.
  • 1973 - High Peak Trail is opened.
  • 1971 - The Peak District National Park Authority purchased the Stanage-North Lees estate and opened the Tissington Trail as a traffic-free route for walkers, cyclists, and horse riders.
  • 1968 - The Countryside Act is passed, imposing a duty on every minister, government department and public body to have "due regard for conserving the natural beauty and amenity of the countryside".
  • 1965 - On 24 April, 30 years on the Pennine Way is opened. The country's first national trail, it stretches 256 miles from Edale to Scotland – crossing Kinder Scout and Bleaklow.
  • 1960 - Fieldhead information centre opens in Edale.
  • 1957 - Brecon Beacons, the last national park designated by the 1949 Act, is established.
  • 1954 - The Peak District National Park's Ranger Service is set up and the first ranger, Tom Tomlinson, is appointed to work as a warden in the Peak District in January. The Voluntary Warden Service is launched on Good Friday. Wardens are trained to help people appreciate the countryside.
  • 1951 - The Peak District is the first national park to be set up in Britain. The desingation on 17 April brings the start of protracted negotiations leading to the first access agreements in the country for the public to walk on private moorland. The Lake District, Snowdonia and Dartmoor National Parks also designated this year.
  • 1949 - On 16 December, the government passes the National Parks and Access to the Countryside Act setting up the Countryside Commission, the Nature Conservancy Council (now both Natural England) and ten national parks.
  • 1947 - The Hobhouse Report suggests 12 potential national parks. The new Town & Country Planning Act sets up a land-use planning system which includes national parks.
  • 1945 - John Dower publishes his report on national parks. The Dower Report suggests how national parks could work in England and Wales. A new Labour government sets up the Committee on National Parks, chaired by Sir Arthur Hobhouse.
  • 1932 - On Sunday 24 April, 400 ramblers gather at Bowden Bridge Quarry, Hayfield to trespass on Kinder Scout. Protesters are met by gamekeepers and scuffles break out. Arrests are made and five men are imprisoned. After the skirmish the demonstrators continued along the path through William Clough and are joined by Sheffield ramblers who had walked via Kinder and Edale Cross. The whole group then walked along the Hayfield to Snake footpath to its highest point where they hold the "victory" meeting. The Rights of Way Act is passed.
  • 1931–1932 - A change of government and a severe financial crisis means Addison's recommendations are put on hold.
  • 1931 - The Addison Report recommends there should be a National Parks Authority to select the most appropriate areas.
  • 1930s - Proposals to make Dovedale the first national park. The depression created mass unemployment and, for many people, the only release was to get out into the countryside for cheap and healthy exercise. The northern moors were strictly preserved for grouse shooting and this led to demands for access and protest meetings in the Winnats Pass at Castleton and elsewhere.
  • 1929 - Ramsay MacDonald sets up enquiry to investigate whether national parks would be a good idea.
  • 1880s–1900s - During Queen Victoria's reign, people's interest in rambling was growing. Several clubs that still exist today were formed such as the Manchester YMCA Rambling Club (1880) and the Yorkshire Rambler Club (1900).
  • 1876 - Hayfield and Kinder Scout Ancient Footpaths Association is formed. The right to roam movement has begun.
  • 1872 - The world's first national park is established at Yellowstone, USA.
  • 1865 - The Commons and Open Spaces Society is formed.
  • 1810 - Wordsworth describes the Lake District as "a sort of national property, in which every man has a right and interest who has an eye to perceive and a heart to enjoy".
  • 1725 - Daniel Defoe claims the High Peak is "the most desolate, wild and abandoned country in all England".
  • 1600s to 1860 - Parliamentary Enclosure Acts "fence off" half of England's countryside.

Back to 70 Years of the Peak District National Park.

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