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Local Access Forum members

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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 Thursdays.
  • 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 mike.rhodes@peakdistrict.gov.uk explaining your interests and experience and what you feel you can contribute to the forum.

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.

Richard Entwistle Appointed until December 2022
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 his initial involvement was with the Stanage Forum steering group representing the Green Lane Association (GLASS). He is actively involved with the Local Access Forum's Green Lanes Sub-group.

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 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.

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 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.

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.

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.

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.

Appointees

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.

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. Dealing with the green agenda and climate change are matters that will affect generations to come. Support for local businesses is imperative and in her own small way Susan has tried to continue to use local businesses during the lockdowns. She is really looking forward to a successful, and safe, re-opening of the economy.

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