Green fields highlighted by sunrays through heavy clouds from Curbar Edge

Local Access Forum members

The Peak District Local Access Forum provides advice on how best to improve access to the countryside, whilst taking into account the needs of land management and nature conservation. It covers the national park area and the countryside of north-west Derbyshire around Buxton, New Mills and Glossop.

Members come from a wide range of backgrounds and experiences so that the advice they give can be as balanced and inclusive as possible. Membership is voluntary and for a period of up to 3 years.

Being a member of the Local Access Forum requires the following commitment:

  • Attendance at meetings up to four times a year, usually on Wednesdays.
  • Involvement with specialist sub-groups
  • To network widely within your field and represent a range of views.

Person specification (12KB) .

How to apply

If you would like to join the Peak District Local Access Forum, please contact explaining your interests and experience and what you feel you can contribute to the forum.

Local Access Forum members

Louise Hawson (Chair) - Appointed until September 2024
Louise is Peak Area Local Access Rep for the British Mountaineering Council, and in that capacity, was part of the Dark Peak NIA Steering Group and have been part of the Sheffield Moors Partnership Steering Group. Since 2017, she has been Secretary of the Stanage Forum. She also chairs the BMC’s Sustainability Working Group. Since 2013 she has been a volunteer Ranger for the Peak District National Park Authority, based at Brunts Barn. She leads guided walks, including one on the History of Climbing on the Eastern Edges, which she helped to develop. In her spare time she is a climber (enthusiastic rather than skilled!), hillwalker, fell runner, and novice orienteer. She lives in Sheffield and was previously a member of Totley AC and has good connections with local fell running clubs as well as climbing clubs. For the last two years she has volunteered with EMP’s Ring Ouzel Monitoring Project, focused on Bamford Edge. She runs a small consultancy business which specialises in advising companies on sustainable sourcing and ethical procurement. She’s also an experienced facilitator & trainer.

Charlotte Gilbert (Vice-chair) - Appointed until December 2026
Charlotte lives in Alport near Bakewell and has a great interest in access to the countryside from many different perspectives; as a farmer and land manager, as a walker and horse rider and as a conservationist. She is Chair of Peak Horsepower bridleway group whose aim is to extend the bridleway network in the Peak District.

Martin Bennett (Vice-chair) - Appointed until March 2026
Martin is a passionate walker and cyclist. He is also an active tennis player and climber with a keen interest in the environment and in protecting Rights of Way. As Footpath Secretary for the Ramblers Derbyshire Dales Group he monitors and reports on the nearly 1700 kilometres of Rights of Ways in the District. Prior to this, he was chair of the Ramblers West Riding Area footpath committee for several years. He views this country’s Rights of Way network as a national asset and treasure. Martin was employed in primary school education and as both classroom teacher and Head Teacher he promoted outdoor activities and an appreciation of the environment to both the children and staff he worked with. Martin sees climate change and species extinction as the most important issue facing us. He believes that enabling more people to experience and understand the countryside, will lead to better knowledge and respect for the environment and encourage greater involvement in taking action to protect it.

Craig Best - Appointed until March 2025
Craig has worked in the outdoors managing places for over 20 years. He started working with communities in Newcastle transforming urban parks before moving on to West Durham in the North Pennines. Craig has spent the last 7 years working for the National Trust in West Yorkshire developing and overseeing the delivery of large scale moorland restoration and natural flood management projects. Having a strong knowledge of landscape conservation Craig has recently been appointed to the role of General Manager for the NT in the Peak District. Encouraging access to the outdoors is something Craig feels passionate about and its the connection people have with the landscape that helps drive investment in the places we all love. A large part of Craig's role in the Peak District is working with partners including tenants to ensure we all play our part in dealing with the nature and climate emergency.

Joe Dalton - Appointed until December 2026
A farmer, farming land in the White Peak and Dark Peak area of the Peak District National Park.

Nick Doran - Appointed until December 2025
Nick lives in Glossop and has lived in or around the Peak District most of his adult life. Over the last thirty years he has been involved in many outdoor activities including; climbing, walking, mountain biking and running, and now riding horses. He also skis and has competed in triathlons up to Ironman distance. His passions now are riding, mountain biking and cycling generally, and getting outdoors as much as possible. In his working life he spent many years in specialist outdoor retail before moving to digital marketing and most recently data and strategy management. He believes that all targets should be measurable and achievable otherwise they are demotivating and do not show whether a strategy is working. He is involved with several groups working to improve PRoW access for equestrian users and promote active travel as an alternative to car use. He feels that equestrians are under-represented as a user group but are arguably the most active in trying to increase access to the countryside for bridleway users. He also feels that the countryside is, and should be, available to all user groups and the best way to develop and maintain access is for all groups to understand each other’s needs and cooperate.

Richard Entwistle - Appointed until December 2025
Richard has lived near the Peak District for over 50 years and is a frequent visitor to the National Park as a sightseeing visitor, a keen walker and occasional driver on the historic unsurfaced roads. He is very keen that all user groups have fair access to the countryside, and initial involvement was with the Stanage Forum steering group representing the Green Lane Association (GLASS). Over recent years he has been a member of the Local Access Forum and the Green Lanes Sub-group of the LAF.

Clare Griffin - Appointed until October 2026
Clare enjoys a wide range of outdoors recreation, including fell running, orienteering and trail bike riding. She is a member of the British Orienteering Federation, Fell Runners Association, Macclesfield Harriers running club, Trail Riders Fellowship and Vintage Motorcycle Club and has recently joined Peak Park Conservation Volunteers working parties. She works at Manchester Royal Infirmary and lives in Bollington.

Alastair Harvey - Appointed until December 2024
Alastair has worked for Yorkshire Water for approximately 14 years in the recreation team and regularly deals with access, recreation and rights of way issues across the whole of the Yorkshire Water land holding, including land within the Peak District National Park Authority area. His previous role was as a Footpaths Officer with Wakefield Metropolitan District Council, where he dealt with the management and the maintenance of the Public Rights of Way Network which fell under the responsibility of Wakefield MDC as Local Highway Authority. He has been closely involved with the Miles Without Stiles project with Yorkshire Water sponsoring this and has also been involved in a number of access projects over the years.

Jez Kenyon - Appointed until April 2024
Jez has been involved with Ramblers locally and nationally for several years, currently serving on the South Yorkshire and North-East Derbyshire Ramblers Council. A keen walker, he is involved with path maintenance and improvements (both practically, and helping develop path issue reporting systems). He wants to ensure the wonderful Peak District footpath network is easy to use for casual walkers and is physically accessible to walkers of varying abilities, while preserving the historic nature of the network.

Austin Knott - Appointed until June 2025
Following a long career in local government as a transport planner, Austin is now a keen hill walker and works as a Hill & Moorland Leader and map reading/navigation tutor, with much of his time spent in the Peak District.  He was a member of the Staffordshire and Wolverhampton Local Access Forum until that lapsed in 2020.  He also volunteers as a hill walking representative for the Peak area of the British Mountaineering Council (BMC) and is a member of the BMC's national Hill Walking Group.  Austin also leads organised walks for Staffordshire Moorlands District Council and co-ordinates their on-going programme of free walks.

Charlotte Leech - Appointed until March 2025
Charlotte has worked for Chatsworth Settlement Trustees for 11 years as Deputy Estates Manager. In her role Charlotte is involved primarily with the management of the property portfolio of the estate which includes land used for access and recreation. Charlotte also worked for United Utilities for 5 years managing their Southern Catchment Estate in the north of the Peak District. Both roles have provided experience of managing land alongside public access with a variety of users and more recently exploring opportunities to improve existing, and offer additional public access. Having grown up in Staffordshire Charlotte has visited the Peak District all her life. Now living in Glossop she continues to enjoy being outdoors as much as possible running, walking and cycling.

Geoff Nickolds - Appointed until October 2026
Geoff has spent most of his career with Severn Trent Water where, as Conservation, Access and Recreation Manager he was responsible for recreation, access and biodiversity issues. This included over forty reservoir sites and countryside receiving over four million visitors each year, with facilities including visitor and education centres, restaurants, access trails, car parking, bird hides and water sports. After leaving Severn Trent Water, Geoff served as Chairman of an Environment Agency Fisheries, Ecology and Recreation Advisory Committee (2005-2012), and as a Member of the Peak District National Park Authority (2007 - 2015) where he was elected Deputy Chairman of the Authority and had member lead roles on both biodiversity and recreation. His work as an independent Conservation, Access and Recreation consultant has included strategic advice on proposed reservoir and wetland developments for Thames Water, South East Water and the Environment Agency, and on implications of the Water Framework Directive for water based recreation for Defra. Geoff is a member of the Forestry Commission Regional Advisory Committee and of the Heritage Lottery Fund Committee for the East Midlands. He has also been a member of the National Trust Midlands Regional Advisory Board and National Trust Council. Spare time interests include membership of (and visiting) the National Trust and Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust and walking and cycling.

Paul Richardson - Appointed until March 2026
Paul has been visiting the Peak District National Park all of his life and has been a resident for 20 years. He owns and manages a business based in Hope, and his interests outside of the working environment have included rock climbing, walking and mountain biking. He has recently stepped down from Chair of the Peak District Mountain Bike group which was formed to help provide a voice for mountain bike riders that are resident in the national park, a group that is now some 3000 strong and growing. His work as a volunteer with the National Trust and his degree, have provided him with a good background in both theory and practice of the managed landscape.

Dave Savage - Appointed until December 2025
Dave has lived in Derbyshire all his life and in the Peak District for the last 20 years. He has a love of everything outdoors particularly walking and mountain biking and spends his spare time volunteering in local woodland restoration projects. Dave has worked for Derbyshire Wildlife Trust for 16 years delivering landscape restoration and access projects across the county, trying to make Derbyshire even better for people and nature. In his role at DWT Dave works with a team who look after their nature reserves in the Peaks and provide advice to landowners who want to explore managing their land better for nature.

Ben Seal - Appointed until December 2025
Having grown up on the edge of the Peak, Ben has always had a keen passion for being outdoors, inspired through Scouting and early family adventures. After graduating from Sheffield University with A Business Studies Degree, Ben spent 7 years outdoor instructing, firstly as a trainee in North Yorkshire and later back home in Derbyshire. As a qualified Mountain Leader, climbing, canoeing and caving instructor, as well as an active DofE Assessor, Ben has always been passionate about giving young people the opportunity to get out in the countryside and have an adventure! Ben’s current role as Places to Paddle Manager at British Canoeing, sees him manage a team covering access, environment, facilities and paddling trails, plus manage a varied portfolio of British Canoeing owned land assets around the country. He leads a national campaign championing the case for opening access on rivers and protecting the environment. Locally, Ben is a Trustee of Midland Canoe Club (Darley Abbey) and also a Trustee of the Derwent Valley Trust. With two very active young sons, outdoor adventures are very different these days, but Ben spends any opportunity he can get road cycling, climbing and paddling.

John Towe - Appointed until March 2025
After taking early retirement, John has been a volunteer Ranger for the PDNP, since he qualified in 2004, and has spent the last three months helping to provide micro navigation training for the latest intake of new trainee volunteer Rangers. John has been actively involved in the Duke of Edinburgh’s award scheme, for the last ten years, volunteering with a local school, as an expedition Supervisor and subsequently as an Accredited Assessor at bronze, silver and gold levels; taking part in expeditions on the Isle of Arran and the Brecon Beacons. Since the COVID epidemic these expeditions have been undertaken in the Peak District which has given John an insight into some of the difficulties experienced in our own area. John’s other passion is working with those with restricted abilities, this has in no small way been driven by his daughter, who lives independently in the Lakes but is a full time wheelchair user, as a result of acquired medical conditions but she still has a restricted but active outdoor life exploring the hills, sailing, skiing etc.. John does not limit this work to wheelchair users, but any who have restricted abilities, for whatever reason, but a desire to explore the outdoors.


Councillor Ian Huddlestone - Appointed by the Peak District National Park Authority
Ian has been on High Peak Borough Council for over twenty years, on the Planning Committee and also as Executive Member for Regeneration, and is keen to learn more about local, regional and national issues within and affecting the National Park.

Councillor Susan Hobson - Appointed by Derbyshire County Council
Susan is from a Peak District farming family and has spent her working life in public service. She became a district councillor for Derbyshire Dales District Council in 2015 and is currently the deputy leader. She likes to be physically active - cycling and walking. A particular bugbear of Susan's is litter and she can often be found with a bag in hand collecting all manner of rubbish. The green agenda and climate change are matters that dealt with now will affect generations to come. Support for local businesses is imperative - in her own small way Susan has tried to continue to use local businesses during lockdown. She is really looking forward to a successful, and safe, re-opening of the economy.

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