The Access Fund was launched in September 2014 as part of the celebrations for the 10th anniversary of open access in the Peak District. It was set up with £3000 from the National Park Authority.
The Access Fund (www.peakdistrict.gov.uk/accessfund) is ring-fenced for access improvements throughout the National Park. This includes new gates, new and improved paths, and signage.
The access fund will help us to build on the legacy of access in the National Park and to work with those who care for this special place for the inspiration and enjoyment of all.
Peak District Local Access Forum – Cake Sale
The Peak District Local Access Forum (www.peakdistrict.gov.uk/laf) is a statutory body made up of volunteers and Members from the National Park Authority and Derbyshire County Council to provide advice on access and recreation matters in the Peak District.
In November 2014, the Forum raised £60 for the access fund from a cake sale. The Forum also provides suggestions for spending this money and meets several times a year to discuss the Access Wish List.
John Thompson, Vice Chair Peak District Local Access Forum:
“The Peak District was the first LAF to be launched in this country where members were pleased to be involved in, and advise the National Park Authority, on the roll out of access land in the Peak. In 2004 access to open country more than doubled from 249 to 542 sq kms - equivalent to 37% of the National Park. At the 10th Anniversary event in September 2014 successes were celebrated and further improvements were urged.
Access has provided people with opportunities to walk in some of the most wild and impressive scenery in the country. LAF members and contacts have built up a “Wish List” of additional access points and associated works related to access land which will make a real difference to people’s enjoyment of this wonderful countryside if agreements can be reached and funds raised. This is where the Access Fund could be so helpful at a time of reduced resources for the Authority. LAF members review the “Wish List”, advise the authority and help raise funds. Let’s make further improvements turn from a vision into a reality.”
Thornbridge – Wild Side
To celebrate open access a Wild Side beer was launched and a brewery tour with a presentation (www.peakdistrict.gov.uk/wildside) by Prof Ian Rotherham on the Wild Side of the Peak District raised £160.
Alex Buchanan, Marketing and Export Manager
“Thornbridge brewery is proud to be based in the Peak District – in fact every one of our 2m bottles we produce each year proclaims we are “Inspired by the Peak District” and we feel that we are. And with export to over 30 countries we are spreading the word about the area we work in. On a day to day basis we try and involve ourselves with local businesses and organisations that share our passion for the local area. Getting involved with Wild Side through the National Park is one example of us trying to contribute to the local area. The National Park’s aim of improving access supports our business objective of increasing the number of customers visiting our brewery and so a commercial aim is also helped with this partnership activity.”
Thornbridge also produces a Wild Side T-shirt (www.thornbridgebrewery.co.uk/product.php?s=wild_T_red) giving a £1 donation for very T-shirt sold to the Access Fund. To date 80 T-shirts have been sold. The T-shirts are inspired by the Peak District.
Local food and drink are vital in triggering economic benefit from tourism and helping to spread the message of visiting and enjoying the national park. The National Park Authority was therefore pleased to support Thornbridge’s festival in July and held Ranger-led walks and mountain bike rides to explore the spirit of the uplands and the passion of the Peak District and to develop new skills on the Black Harry network of trails. Donations totalled £55.
Dark Peak – Edale Skyline
£300 was received from Dark Peak Fell runners. This works out as approximately £1 for every runner taking place in the Edale Skyline race.
Bob Berzins, Dark Peak Access Officer and Peak District LAF member
“The Edale Skyline race has been going since 1974 and takes place at the end of March. Dark Peak Fell Runners aim for the race to be as low key and minimum impact as possible as well as a challenging early season race for the runners. Around a hundred people volunteer to help on the day and the race has always been not for profit. Excess money is donated to local good causes, particularly Edale village charities and mountain rescue. More recently DPFR have also donated for local path repairs and the Access Fund is a particularly good way to ensure donations are directly used in the most needed areas.”
OMM –Bike and Lite
OMM donated £125 from their running and mountain bike events based around the Hope Valley and the Black Harry Trails. You can see the video of the bike event at www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZVoE8l3JD2s and find out more about the area at www.peakdistrict.gov.uk/blackharry.
Stuart Hamilton, OMM Events Director
“The protection and maintenance of the upland areas is central to everything we do at OMM and as we encourage more people to venture into these wonderful places we can encourage them to enjoy them in a responsible and considerate fashion. It is vital that we support the good work that is done where and whenever we can.”
Callow Bank, Hathersage
Two new access points went in at Callow Bank to allow a lower level route to be taken across access land at Callow Bank and to link in with Stanage Edge. Tom Lewis, the Area Ranger, worked with the landowner to put in the gates at the time that the fence was being replaced. One of these gates being put in is shown in the National ParkAuthority’s Access Fund film which will be launched shortly.
The total cost of these new access points was £419.89.
Grindslow Knoll, Edale
Grindslow Knoll path is an important one for accessing the Edale skyline and a prominent one in the area yet, over time, the path has eroded and widened. Work is proposed to allow the drainage to be improved, the path to be cleared of loose stone and graded, adjacent areas to be restored and the use of barriers to encourage access along the path and revegetation.
Peak Park Conservation Volunteers funded by the Access Fund have already made a start on clearing out and making good the drainage on this route but further works are required. The cost of the working parties has been £200 and 12 volunteers took part.
The National Park Authority takes a lead role in looking after paths on access land and permissive paths to access land and other rights of way. These paths enhance access to an area and can also encourage people to keep to a defined route through sensitive areas.
Peak Paths, as part of the Access Fund, will help us to maintain these paths. The amount of work that we are able to carry out at Grindslow Knoll will depend on the contributions that we receive.
This year, the first year of the Access Fund, has been one about raising awareness. The annual report provides information on the need for and the type and cost of works to improve access and the opportunities for donating.
We are making progress with a number of access improvements and will be providing updates on new or improved access in the access newsletter (www.peakdistrict.gov.uk/access) as well as to the Local Access Forum which provides support and guidance for this work.
The donations that we’ve received are very welcome. We have also had pledges for the creation of specific new access routes and we will tell you about these when our negotiations and works are complete. In this next year we hope to make it easier for people to donate.
The Peak Paths appeal for Grindlow Knoll will help us to maintain our access for this and other similar routes and we will use our in-house expertise to carry out these works sensitively.
Finally and importantly, we couldn’t do it without you. Please help us to do more.
- September 2014 - Peak District National Park Authority - £3000
- November 2014 - Peak District Local Access Forum - £60
- March 2015 - Thornbridge Brewery Tour - £160
- April 2015 - Dark Peak Fell Runners - £300
- May 2015 – OMM - £125
- July 2015 - Ranger-led Thornbridge events - £55
- September 2015 - Thornbridge T-shirts - £80
- TOTAL £3780
- May 2015 - Callow Bank Access Point - £196.15
- June 2015 - Callow Bank Access Point - £223.74
- September 2015 - Grindslow Knoll Path Repairs - £200
- TOTAL £619.89