Duke and Prince welcome official opening of new £1m Moorland Visitor Centre…

This is an archived press release

Monday 18 September 2006

15 September 2006

Duke and Prince welcome official opening of new £1m Moorland Visitor Centre…

The Duke of Devonshire was on hand (14 September) to officially open the Peak District National Park's new Moorland Visitor Centre, the first of its kind in the country.

Located in Edale, this flagship centre of the Moors for the Future Partnership will provide an important environmental learning experience for visitors, a national focus for moorland research, and community facilities.

Speaking at the opening ceremony, the Duke of Devonshire paid tribute to the partner organisations that have worked together to develop the new centre and raise awareness of the importance of Peak District moorlands. He said: "Everything in this wonderful new building has been designed to match the requirements of the people who love the uplands. 

"In order to love these uplands properly we need to learn about them and educational facilities and functions are high on the list of priorities here and rightly so. Until we understand the tensions and difficulties, the fragility and the limitations of these beautiful places, it is difficult for us to understand how they might function in the future.

"This lovely place will be used by people seeking quiet enjoyment of the landscape, and an inalienable right for all the citizens of this country, who come with the good sense evidenced here, exercised but not to the detriment of the landscape."

HRH The Prince of Wales added his support for the centre. Although he was unable to attend the official opening, his fondness for the Peak District and support for the new centre were evident in his speach, read out at the ceremony by the Lord Lieutenant of Derbyshire, Mr John Bather. The Prince said that he hopes to visit the centre, adding that the initiative is "Absolutely vital and I can only endorse it wholeheartedly. It could not be more important that those who are closest to the moorlands, and understand their value and how to care for them, find new ways to communicate this to the widest possible audience."

Built near the start of the Pennine Way, the Moorland Centre’s design reflects its upland setting. It has a living roof of sedum turf, intersected by a waterfall tumbling over glass panels into a pool at the entrance. The turf acts as an eco-friendly insulator, and the building is fuelled by an energy-saving ground-source heat pump.

Inside the centre, interactive exhibitions for all ages explain why the Moors for the Future Project was set up to restore vast tracts of this threatened habitat, and conserve its heritage. “Listening posts” enable visitors to hear reminiscences of people who lived and worked on the moors.

Based on the site of the outdated Fieldhead Information Centre, an adjoining farmhouse has been refurbished to create the country’s first dedicated moorland research centre.  This is a base and resource library for specialists to study this fragile eco-system threatened by centuries of pollution, erosion, fires and over-grazing. Such damage affects our water-supplies and flood-risks, and harms rare plants and wildlife - blanket bog is one of the rarest habitats in the world and could be instrumental against climate change.

Part of the centre’s work is to also show the importance of economic land uses of moorland - such as farming, sporting and water catchments alongside the ecology and recreational uses.

Lynn Crowe, chair of the Moors for the Future Partnership said: “The Moorland Centre will benefit both visitors and local people. High quality displays tell the story of the moorlands and improve peoples’ experience, knowledge and enjoyment of the landscape - which is a great national treasure and one of the world’s rarest habitats. There are now exciting plans being developed for the next phase of work to secure the legacy of 8,000 years of moorland life. The Moorland Centre will be at the heart of this important work.”

The Moors for the Future Partnership is hosted by the Peak District National Park Authority, and the Moorland Centre is a cornerstone in this £4.7m project funded largely from the Heritage Lottery Fund. Significant contributions have also come from the Peak District National Park Authority, Countryside Agency, English Nature, Defra, European Regional Development Fund, National Trust, East Midlands Development Agency, local authorities, SITA Environmental Trust, water companies and The Moorland Association, private sector moorland owners. Funding for the Moorland Centre has come from HLF, EMDA, ERDF, SITA, National Trust, Moorland Association, English Nature, Countryside Agency, Sustainable Development Fund and the Peak District National Park Authority.

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This is an archived press release

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