This is an archived press release
Monday 22 September 2014
A decade after access land in the Peak District National Park was doubled in size for lovers of the great outdoors, the park's access champions have met to carry forward this legacy.
On 19th September 2004, the public's right of access grew from 240 sq km to more than 500 sq km, opening up a new world to be explored inside Britain's first national park.
The freedom to roam brought large parts of the Peak District's wilder landscape within reach of walkers, climbers, runners and wildlife enthusiasts, allowing visitors to wander at will without keeping to public paths. The move followed the implementation of the Countryside and Rights of Way Act.
To mark the 10th anniversary, a joint event with the British Mountaineering Council and the Ramblers was held at the Moorland Discovery Centre at Longshaw, followed by a walk across open access land, with speakers talking about what a decade of change has meant to them and how they have been inspired.
The walk was led by leading British climber Andy Cave and other speakers included access campaigner Terry Howard, landscape and wildlife photographer Alex Hyde, author Roly Smith and Lynn Crowe, professor of environmental management at Sheffield Hallam University.
Clr Andrew McCloy, chair of the park's audit, resources and performance committee and chair of the Local Access Forum at the time, said: “It is an incredibly important piece of access legislation and we are very proud of what it has meant.
“It has given people confidence when they go on to the moors and a sense of freedom to explore. There is a feeling of freedom in the wilder parts of the national park that you don’t always get if you follow a well-worn path.
“The important thing is to make people aware that it is there for them. And it doesn’t always have to mean walking through a wilderness, you can use it to relax by a stream or enjoy a family picnic.”
The event also saw the launch of the Authority's Access Fund, which aims to raise money through donations and initiatives to further improve access in the future.
Sue Smith, the National Park's access officer, said: “This is about looking after our access areas and making them more accessible. Any money raised will go towards projects such as replacing stiles with wicket gates, dedicating new areas of access or creating concession paths with the agreement of landowners to open up even more of the park. By working together we can do much more.”