Local Access Forum members
John Thompson (Chair) Appointed until September 2022
John has over 40 years experience and knowledge of Derbyshire and Peak District countryside issues, having latterly worked for the National Park Authority as Director of Recreation and Education until his retirement in May 2007. In this role he developed close and effective partnerships with a number of bodies including national and regional sports and recreation panels. He has also served on the National Forest Board for six years. He is also active in his local community, and was chair of the Anthony Gell School Foundation Trust for over 20 years until June 2018. This supported development of improved sports facilities and other opportunities for the school and community. He is also a trustee (former chair) of the Wirksworth Recreation Ground Trust, providing opportunities for local sports.
Bob Berzins (Vice-chair) Appointed until June 2022
Bob's main area of interest is fell running. He is a member of Sheffield-based Dark Peak Fell Runners, writes columns for the Fell Runners Association website and magazine, and represents fell runners throughout the national park. Through his involvement in the Stanage Forum he has developed his interest in access and conservation, and works with landowners, keepers and conservationists to improve understanding of the impacts of fell running on local moorland.
Charlotte Gilbert (Vice-chair) Appointed until December 2023
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, horse rider, and conservationist. She is Chair of Peak Horsepower bridleway group with an aim to extend the bridleway network in the Peak District.
Martin Bennett Appointed until March 2023
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.
Joe Dalton Appointed until December 2023
A farmer, farming land in the White Peak and Dark Peak area of the Peak District National Park.
Edwina Edwards Appointed until September 2021
Edwina is currently working for an organisation that supports people with learning disabilities in North East Derbyshire and is also active in Duke of Edinburgh as a supervisor and assessor. She was formerly the Chief Executive of Bakewell and Eyam Community Transport and has also worked voluntarily for them for several years. She has also worked for the Youth Hostels Association and has served in various roles for Girlguiding in Derbyshire. A keen walker, cyclist and fell runner, she is also very much part of the local Youlgrave community, and comes from a farming background.
Richard Entwistle Appointed until December 2022
Richard has lived near the Peak District for over 35 years and has been 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 so has been involved with the Stanage Forum steering group representing the Green Lane Association (GLASS).
Clare Griffin Appointed until October 2023
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 2021
Alastair has worked for Yorkshire Water for 11 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, including the proposals for a bike track and permissive path to the south of Langsett Reservoir.
Louise Hawson Appointed until September 2021
Louise is Peak Area Local Access Rep for the British Mountaineering Council, and in that capacity, was part of the Dark Peak Nature Improvement Area Steering Group and 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 Eastern Moors Partnership’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.
Jez Kenyon Appointed until April 2021
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.
Steve Martin Appointed until September 2022
Steve is a passionate advocate for learning for sustainability and has spent over 40 years facilitating and supporting organisations and governments in ways they can contribute towards a more sustainable future. For nearly a decade he was a member of Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Further and Higher Education (specialising in agricultural and science education in the East and West Midlands), with national responsibility for Environmental Education and served as a special advisor to the Secretary of State in the Department of the Environment in drafting the education and training sections of HM Government’s first white paper on the Environment-Our Common Inheritance. He has held visiting professorships at the Open University and Universities of Hertfordshire, Gloucestershire and currently, the University of the West of England. He is an Honorary Professor at the University of Worcester. He was formerly Director of Learning at Forum for the Future, the leading Sustainability Charity in the UK. He is a former Trustee of the Worldwide Fund for Nature and an Honorary Fellow of the Society for the Environment and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Biology. For the Past 3 years he has been a member of the UK Stakeholders for Sustainable Development Steering Group in the development of a UK wide progress report (called Measuring Up) on the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). He is currently helping the YHA with its sustainability strategy, is a keen cyclist and walks as often as possible with Derbyshire Dales Ramblers.
Andrew Murley Appointed until March 2021
In his early years Andrew hiked and cycled around most of the Peak District and became a member of Buxton Mountain Rescue Team; he is still an associate member. Since the onset of various ailments he now ventures out in a wheelchair and tries to visit as much of the Peak District on the accessible routes. He has lately gained a qualification in Managing Sustainable Rural Development. He attempted to relate most of his studies toward the Peak District but the last year of study was purely devoted towards the interaction between Peak District farmers, the local economy and local community. He is keen to see the residents, communities and economy of the Peak District and local surrounding area benefit from the opportunities afforded them through work performed by the LAF.
Geoff Nickolds Appointed until October 2023
Geoff 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 2023
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.
Ben Seal Appointed until December 2022
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.
Roly Smith Appointed until April 2021
Roly is the award-winning author of over 90 books on walking and the countryside. A journalist by training, he has lived in Bakewell for over 30 years. He is vice president of the Outdoor Writers’ and Photographers’ Guild, and also of South Yorkshire and North East Derbyshire Ramblers, and he serves on the editorial panel for Wild Derbyshire,the magazine of the Derbyshire Wildlife Trust, and on the Kinder and High Peak Advisory Group. He was recently elected a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society. Promoting greater understanding of the countryside and campaigning for better access to all to it are among Roly’s major passions, and he has organised the now-annual Spirit of Kinder celebrations of the Mass Trespass for the past 15 years. History is another of his interests, and he edits ACID (Archaeology & Conservation in Derbyshire) for Derbyshire County Council and the National Park authority. Roly loves to travel and has visited about 30 US and Canadian National Parks, as well as many in Europe. When he’s not writing or travelling, he continues to enjoy walking and exploring the wonderful Peak District countryside.
Jon Stewart Appointed until October 2023
Jon has been involved in conservation and recreation work in the Peak District for over ten years through roles with English Nature/ Natural England (including input to CRoW access and Moors for the Future). He is now employed as General Manager for the National Trust with responsibility for delivery of the Trust's key aims of conservation and access/enjoyment in the Peak District as the largest landowner. Jon brings strong perspectives on conservation, access and land ownership/ management.
Ally Turner Appointed until October 2023
Ally is a keen horse rider and walker. She has recently retired from being a secondary school teacher with experience of working with pupils with Special Educational Needs and disadvantaged young people. She lives in a farming community near Longnor.
Councillor Ian Huddlestone Appointed by the Peak District National Park Authority
Ian has been on High Peak Borough Council for over twenty years. During this period he has been on the Planning Committee and also served as Executive Member for Regeneration (one year). He understands some of how Peak Park works, but not all of its functions and will learn more about local, regional and national issues within and affecting the National Park as he gets to know the Peak Park.
Jason Atkin Appointed by Derbyshire County Council
Jason is an elected Councillor on both Derbyshire County Council and Derbyshire Dales District Council and am a member of the Planning Committees of both these Councils. He lives just outside the National Park boundary in Darley Dale and is a shop manager. His family have been farmers in Derbyshire for over 100 years and he runs his own business. In his County Councillor role he has had experience of cultural heritage issues as a representative on the Derwent Valley World Mills Heritage site. He is keen to promote affordable housing schemes to preserve the communities within the National Park and to support closer workings with other Authorities that surround the National Park and support national promotion of the National Park and closer working ties with the other National Parks.