Monday, 24 June 2013

Burbage to be transformed

RSPB press release on behalf of the Dark Peak Nature Improvement area

The site of a conifer plantation in one of the most popular areas of the Peak District is going to be transformed as part of a conservation initiative to restore declining woodland and improve the landscape for local people and wildlife.  

Burbage now

The 83 acre Burbage plantation, owned by Sheffield City Council, was originally planted in the Burbage Valley in the early 1970s and is well-known to the many people who climb, walk and relax in the Valley. However, the plantation has not grown well and now needs to be removed as it has reached maturity. The current woodland provides few benefits for wildlife and is in significant decline. Trees are beginning to blow over causing health and safety concerns and a fire risk.

Ted Talbot, Woodland Manager for the City Council, says: “Work on removing the trees is being scheduled to start at the beginning of September and, weather permitting, should be completed by Christmas. Some of the site will then be restored back to moorland, while the rest of the area will be replanted with native oak and birch woodland, benefiting a range of wildlife.”

The project is funded through the Dark Peak Nature Improvement Area, a large-scale conservation initiative, which was created to improve, expand and link up existing wildlife-rich areas within the Dark Peak including Burbage Moor. 

Burbage after

Ross Frazer, Project Manager for the Dark Peak Nature Improvement Area, says: “The Burbage plantation has been part of the landscape of the valley for several decades but it was never meant to be a permanent fixture; it was originally planted as a crop. 

“Once the site has been cleared, it will look much like it did 40 years ago but in another 20 to 30 years there will eventually be a new native woodland much like Padley Gorge along the valley, which future generations will be able to enjoy.

“As Burbage Valley is such a popular attraction, we have scheduled the removal to take place after the summer holidays and will only be working on weekdays to minimise disturbance.”

Ross Frazer will be in the top car park at Burbage Bridge on the following dates to explain how and when the work will be carried out.

Wednesday 24 July 10am to 3pm
Saturday 10 August 10am to 3pm
Sunday 11 August 10am to 3pm
Tuesday 27 August 10am to 3pm


  1. This is an act of environmental vandalism masquerading as 'nature improvement'. What a tragic loss of a beautiful woodland this will be. I wonder if the woodland manager could confirm that there is no profit motive to the removal of the mature plantation?

    1. The conifers are not natural to the site and as stated have an impact on local wildlife as well as acidifying the soil.

      Surely planting native trees and allowing them to reach a climax community is a better approach to improving environmental biodiversity as well as improving the aesthetics of the area.

  2. This is the removal of a temporary sterile crop of conifers that should never have been planted, it isn't beautiful it's like a square green blanket dumped on the valley. There will be a profit I hope as with all crops, they are planted to be grown and sold so at least some use will come out it but if you've ever tried to walk through it you'll know almost nothing lives in there.

  3. Surely the artificial planting of these trees was "an act of environmental vandalism". Leave the moors alone, and let Nature look after them.....

  4. Ted Talbot will be co-leading a guided walk from Longshaw Visitor Centre on Wednesday at 11.00 when it should all be explained. Walk should take 2 - 3 hours depending on numbers.