Friday, 8 March 2013

Making Connections at a Landscape Scale

Key environmental figures gather to celebrate unique partnership work for the Sheffield Moors 

Environment Minister Richard Benyon and Professor Sir John Lawton, who led a government review of England’s protected areas in 2010 were key speakers at a special event yesterday to mark the work of the Sheffield Moors Partnership (SMP). £400k is being invested over the next two years to help achieve SMP’s long-term plan that will leave a legacy to local people and visitors to this area of the Peak District.

Gathering at the National Trust’s Moorlands Discovery Centre, they were joined by John Mothersole, Chief Executive of Sheffield City Council, Liz Ballard, Chief Executive of Sheffield Wildlife Trust, Jim Dixon, Chief Executive of Peak District National Park Authority, Peter Robertson, RSPB Director for the Northern Region, Beccy Speight, National Trust Director for the Midlands, and from Natural England, Tom Moat, Area Manager, Peak District, Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire & Lincolnshire, together with many other organisations and people connected with the Sheffield Moors.

Formed in 2010, the Sheffield Moors Partnership (SMP) is a collaboration between the Peak District National Park Authority, RSPB, National Trust, Sheffield City Council, Sheffield Wildlife Trust and Natural England to develop a landscape scale vision for the Sheffield Moors and improve connections for people and wildlife both across and in and out of the area.

The partnership aims to achieve its vision through a programme of habitat management and restoration, to encourage wildlife to move around and thrive across the landscape. The promotion of a joined up path network from surrounding communities into and across the landscape that provide high quality outdoor experiences. It is also encouraging public engagement and involvement through volunteering, inspiring events and education. All of this will be led by a long-term, 15 year masterplan, to be published in late spring 2013.

Environment Minister, Richard Benyon said: “I’d like to see more and more people getting out and about and enjoying England’s beauty spots, like the Sheffield Moors. This long-term plan will improve paths to give people better access to Sheffield Moors’ diverse habitats, while additional visitors to its pubs, cafes and tourist spots, will help to grow the local economy.

“It’s fantastic to see the Park and the local authority working with a number of different organisations to make this an even better place to visit. I am looking forward to returning in the future to enjoy some of it myself.”

Just seven miles from the centre of Sheffield, the Sheffield Moors lie in the Peak District National Park, and comprise a 56km² (21 square miles) mosaic of moorland, meadows, bogs, deciduous woodlands, and dramatic gritstone edges such as the iconic Stanage Edge. The Moors also boasts a wealth of wildlife including one of only two red deer herds in the National Park and its only colony of adders.

Speaking on behalf of the Sheffield Moors Partnership, Nick Sellwood said:

“The Sheffield Moors are unique: their proximity to England’s fourth biggest city means they are an easily accessible wild landscape for millions of people. At the same time, visitors to the area help support local businesses in North Derbyshire and Sheffield, whilst the landscape can help attract new businesses nearby who are able to offer their employees this wonderful recreational resource on their doorsteps.”

The Making Space for Nature report, chaired by Professor Sir John Lawton, recognised that England’s network of nature reserves and other protected sites is insufficient to stem the continuing loss of wild plants and animals from our countryside.

Speaking at the event, Sir John said: “The solution is simple; the protected area network needs to include more and bigger sites, better managed and more interconnected sites, for the benefit of wildlife and people. There is now overwhelming evidence that access to quality green-spaces and interesting wildlife is highly beneficial for peoples’ mental and physical well-being. That’s why the Sheffield Moors project is so exciting, and so important, restoring and re-creating habitats for the benefit of local people and visitors, who come to see thriving wildlife in wild, restored landscapes.”

The Sheffield Moors Partnership forms part of the wider Dark Peak Nature Improvement Area (Dark Peak NIA). This is one of 12 government-funded projects taking a landscape-scale approach to meet the challenges facing our wildlife.

Through the Dark Peak NIA, £400k has been secured to help implement the Sheffield Moors masterplan.

A series of public workshops and consultation roadshows have enabled over 1000 people and organisations including the British Mountaineering Council, Ramblers, Hunter Archaeology Society, and Friends of the Peak District, to help shape and inform the draft masterplan.

The final SMP masterplan will be published in late spring 2013.  Further details can be found at

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