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Access to Open Country - Who's involved

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Who's involved

Ranger helping walkers
The Peak District National Park Authority is the Access Authority for all open access land within the National Park boundary. For land beyond the boundary the local highway authorities are the Access Authorities.

As the Access Authority we are working with landowners and farmers to lead the way on local arrangements for open access. New signs, stiles and gates are being installed, and new full and part time rangers have been appointed both to help landowners and farmers work with the new arrangements and to help the public enjoy the land safely and responsibly.


Who’s who in the Access Authority

Mike Rhodes
Mike Rhodes, Access and Rights of Way Manager

"My job is to act as a middle-man between the people visiting access land and the people living and working on it. I oversee access on the ground, working with rangers and others, making sure that stiles, signs and gates are in place. I am in constant liaison with landowners, conservationists and access groups either individually on specific issues or through the Local Access Forum which I also organise. We have to ensure people can enjoy the moors without harming the environment or unduly affecting land management."
Contact him on 01629 816289 mike.rhodes@peakdistrict.gov.uk


Andy Farmer
Andy Farmer, Ranger Service Team Leader

"Your aim is to enjoy your visit, our aim is to enhance that enjoyment. Rangers can offer advice and practical help on where to enter the new areas, what to see when you are there, how to cope in an emergency, why fire is such an ecological disaster and why we have a new Countryside Code. Very few problems occur considering we have many millions of day visits a year – our 22 full-time rangers and 350 part-time and volunteer rangers work with colleagues and outside partners to make sure the landscape is protected and people can make the most of it."
Contact him on 01629 816290 andy.farmer@peakdistrict.gov.uk

Sue Smith  Access Officer

"One of my main jobs is to ensure a close link between the national Open Access Contact Centre and the rangers here so that they are aware of all restrictions to access within their area at any given time. I also deal with requests from landowners for restricted access and maintain and update the Access Management Plan – a computerised geographical information system including maps and details of Sites of Special Scientific Interest, patterns of use, attractive features and so on."
Contact her on 01629 816295 sue.smith@peakdistrict.gov.uk


Partners in protection

Re-seeding moors with helicopter
Several bodies are working hand in hand with the Peak District National Park Authority, investing time, money and sheer hard work to safeguard this precious landscape.

Moors for the Future

The Peak District Moors for the Future project (with £4.7m from Heritage Lottery and other funding partners) is restoring large parts of the internationally important moors damaged by fires, pollution and erosion. It is carrying out research and encouraging public awareness of our moorland heritage.

Lynn Crowe, chair of the Partnership Steering Group behind the five-year project, said: "Moorland can appear rugged but in fact it's very fragile. We welcome people to enjoy this fascinating landscape with all its interest and challenges. Our aim is to balance recreation with conservation of the moorland - one of the world's rarest and most environmentally significant habitats."
Moors for the Future 01433 621656. Email: moors@peakdistrict.gov.uk
Website: www.moorsforthefuture.org.uk [external site]

Fire Operations Group

Fire Operations Group excercise
Accidental fires can destroy habitats and erode the landscape - in the event of a fire a key partner is the Fire Operations Group, formed in 1996 after a serious moorland blaze. It brings together six fire services, National Park rangers, National Trust wardens, major landowners and gamekeepers to draw up fire plans, oversee specialist firefighting equipment, promote prevention and train for emergencies.

Fire Station Officer Peter Arnfield said: "The Group carries out regular training exercises and monitors conditions on the ground in dry weather. Our national countryside fire conference involved a full scale fire-fighting exercise - which proved to be a great success."

The question of whether the moorland should be closed is determined by the Met Office 'Fire Severity Index'. This index takes into account the condition of the moors and the weather conditions on a scale of one to five. When five is reached, the right of access to open moorland is suspended for a period of five days.

More information on Fire Severity Index [external site]

Peak District Local Access Forum

Providing vital input from the community is the Peak District Local Access Forum which meets several times a year to share information and views on access to open country, and advise the local authorities. Its chairman, Andrew Critchlow, said: "The Local Access Forum is 22 people drawn from a wide range of backgrounds to represent interests including walking, climbing and cycling, farming, conservation, local business and local communities. We advise the Peak District National Park Authority and Derbyshire County Council primarily on the implementation of the Countryside and Rights of Way Act, but also wider issues such as accessibility."
Contact Mike Rhodes Secretary on 01629 816289 or email mike.rhodes@peakdistrict.gov.uk
Local Access Forum

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