[Type text] Open Access Newsletter


[Type text] Open Access Newsletter
[Type text]
Access Newsletter
Access Newsletter
December 2014
Open Access Anniversary
In September we celebrated the 10th anniversary of the introduction of the right of access to open
country in the Peak District with the British Mountaineering Council, Ramblers and other access
champions. We did this by meeting up, walking the moors and discussing the different elements of
what open access brings to people’s lives.
Thank you to our speakers for putting into words just how important access is for us to explore, be
challenged, be inspired, and for our health and well-being and the economy. We have now
published the details of the speeches. These can be found at .www.peakdistrict.gov.uk/crow
In 2004, the new legislation doubled the amount of access land in the National Park and allowed
public access to some areas which had previously been out of bounds. It includes wilder areas
such as moorlands in the north and south west of the park and the dale sides in the south of the
A new public footpath has been created to allow access eastwards from the summit of the GlossopHayfield Road to the moorlands leading to Burnt Hill, and then to Mill Hill and on to the Kinder
Plateau. For those that do not wish to stay up high a further footpath drops down to meet up with
the bridleway leading to Kinder Reservoir. These have been concession routes for a number of
years but will now be safeguarded in perpetuity.
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Access Newsletter
Access Newsletter
Limited surfacing works to prevent boggy areas getting
worse were carried out by the Authority’s Countryside
Maintenance Team with the support of Derbyshire
County Council as the Highway Authority.
Walk on the Wild Side
In the last newsletter Henry Folkard selected a walk in the White Peak and this month he’s
provided one in the Dark Peak at Black Cloughs and the northern side of Bleaklow.
The genius of an outstanding landscape photographer is to capture the essence of a place in a
single shot, to show how one image captures a wider experience, to make one look anew at the
familiar, to excite and stimulate the challenge of adventure, the wish to explore. A favourite walk is
something like that. It is more than just itself. The company one has, or chooses not to have, can
be important too. It probably has to be quiet.
Find yourself getting out of the car just by the western entrance to the Woodhead Tunnel, off the
A628. Cross the Etherow and wander along a track to its confluence with the three Black Cloughs.
At a ford you have a choice. Either cross the ford and take a land rover track above Far Black
Clough, pausing here and there to look into the Clough, or continue up Middle Black Clough on a
scrambly informal path through delightful clough woodland alive with birdsong and ferns and
tumbling water. Now the litter has gone and there is no one else about.
With either option the path diminishes and all but disappears. Ahead the horizon stretches away
and recedes as you approach it, enticing you on. You are held in a huge shallow bowl of the
northern flanks of Bleaklow trying to reconcile the landscape with what you see on your map.
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Access Newsletter
Access Newsletter
Behind you expansive views towards Withens Moors and beyond invite another day. Above the sky
is everywhere. Below your feet have just got wet, but hereabouts the variety of specialist moorland
vegetation is complete – cloudberry, crowberry, heather, grasses various – and did you notice any
bog rosemary?
Alone but not alone, for the plaintiff cry of the golden plover chimes with the red grouse and the
pipits. The short eared owl said nothing.
You are making vaguely for indistinct ridge along the high point of the Bleaklow Plateau, but
something is very different from when you were here ten years ago, wading in a black morass. Now
you are picking your way through wavy hair grass and over blocked cloughs and marvelling at the
scale and effectiveness of the work of the Moors for the Future project in restoring polluted over
grazed moorland to a semi-natural habitat. A terrific job, well done.
Some gritstone boulders, weirdly sculpted by wind and weather mark the end of your ascent. You
may be by Bleaklow Stones, or you may be somewhere else. No matter, it’s a good place to be.
The landscape changes to the vastness of the Upper Derwent watershed, Grinah Stones and
Westend. And the stakes, stuck in the peat. You hoped you might come across them, for they are a
friendly presence in a remote place and roughly indicate as good a way as any along the
watershed and its 180 degree panorama, to the restored landscape of Bleaklow Head. In the mist
or in bad weather this is a remote and desolate place. Beware. Unless you are happy in such
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Access Newsletter
Access Newsletter
places and have the skill to navigate them you will have left this section for another day, and
returned by the Black Clough you did not walk up – if, that is, you can find it.
Bleaklow Head is the turning point, that moment of regret when you must begin to leave the wild
places and head back to the turmoil of the world from which you sought to escape. There are two
paths here going vaguely northish. The way down the Pennine Way is very pleasant, but not where
you want to be today. Take the vague track down Near Black Clough which grows ever more
distinct as you descend.
It seems a long descent, but entirely straightforward. The clough banks steepen as you go, and it
is pleasant to linger on its banks if time permits. Eventually you notice the first rowan, the first birch
and then the moorland is just a memory, the ring ouzel you though you might have glimpsed lost
from the view and the rare plant you had heard grew thereabouts left for another day when you
could remember what you were looking for.
Back to the litter, back to the road, back to the traffic – but you have known another world.