Stanage is a special place to a whole host of Sheffield residents. Climbers, walkers, hang-gliders, horse riders, dog owners and, of course, mountain bikers all love the place. They love it because it’s a great place to enjoy their particular interest but also because such magnificent landscape is so close to one of Britain’s great cities It’s effectively every Sheffield resident’s back garden and, inevitably, we’re very protective of it.
A few years ago Matthew Croney, the Peak District National Park land manager for Stanage and North Lees, (the estate that surrounds Stanage), decided that the time was right to come up with a long-term management plan in conjunction with the numerous user groups and locals who value it so much. After an initial open meeting attended by seventy or so interested parties the Stanage Forum, made up of representatives of all the major user groups was formed. It went on to formulate a vision for Stanage and, after many dozens of meetings, a management plan for the estate.
During those early meetings, the suspicions that inevitably existed between different user groups gradually dissolved and a spirit of consensus took its place. Now, fourteen years later, both the original vision and the management plan have stood the test of time and Stanage remains a beautiful place for both visitors and locals to enjoy.
However, largely as a result of serial underfunding of the National Park by successive governments, Stanage is entering a new phase. Austerity is inevitably the new watchword and a new management plan is required to ensure that Stanage is protected for future generations to enjoy. That process has recently started with a number of joint meetings between the Stanage Forum and officers of the Peak District National Park Authority. Those meetings have very quickly come to the conclusion that nothing should be done until all those who love Stanage have been given the opportunity to have their say.
So, it’s time for another Stanage open meeting. This is where you come in. If you ride regularly on the Packhorse Route or the Stanage Causeway or just love Stanage, it’s important that you make your feelings known.
The open meeting will be held in Hathersage Memorial Hall, Oddfellows Road, Hathersage on March 29 at 2pm. What is discussed at that meeting will go a long way to deciding how North Lees is managed for the foreseeable future, how do we raise money to pay for its upkeep being one of the thorniest problems. If you care about Stanage, make sure you’re there.