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Ranger-guided walks cancelled due to fire-risk in Peak District

This is an archived press release

Thursday 20 July 2006

20 July 2006

Ranger-guided walks cancelled due to fire-risk in Peak District

High risk of fires on Peak District moorlands has forced the cancellation of Ranger-guided walks in the National Park this weekend (July 22-23).

Co-ordinated firefighting teams have already dealt with outbreaks on Black Hill, Rainow and Bleaklow since Tuesday, when the Peak District National Park Authority closed access to open moorland and appealed for vigilance against starting fires.

Helicopters have helped douse deep-seated peat fires on remote moorlands – crossed by the Pennine Way – and firefighters were still damping down with high-pressure jets on the worst-affected area, 20 hectares of Bleaklow, near Glossop, on Thursday morning.

Ranger-guided walks cancelled this weekend are: Summer on Kinder Scout, Heart Start Walk in the Derwent Valley (both Saturday July 22) and the Dovestone Stroll on Sunday (July 23)

The situation on guided walks next week (National Parks Week) will be reviewed on Monday, and people who are booked on walks are advised to contact the Rangers office on 01629 816290 before setting out.

Head of access and recreation Sean Prendergast said: “We still have to maintain constant vigilance – we are asking the public to support us in this: we appeal to people not under any circumstances to smoke, light naked flames or barbecues near the moors.”

People are still welcome to walk all over the National Park as long as they keep to public rights of way – 2,200 km of pathways are still fully open. Climbers are still welcome to use Stanage and Burbage Edges and The Roaches. However, the right to roam off the beaten track has been suspended for the first time since the Countryside and Rights of Way (CRoW) Act was launched in 2004.

The Peak District Fire Operations Group – a partnership of the National Park Authority with six fire and rescue services and major landowners and operators – was brought together following previous major moorland fires in excessively hot dry years. It is maintaining constant firewatch patrols and using specialist equipment for these remote areas.

Moorland fires are a major cause of erosion, destroying plants and wildlife habitats that take many years to recover. Moors for the Future, a £4.7m Heritage Lottery-funded project, has spent the past four years restoring huge areas of threatened moorland and blanket bog, which is one of the rarest habitats in the world and instrumental against global warming.

This is an archived press release

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