The Eastern Moors Partnership (EMP) is a joint venture between the National Trust and the RSPB, managing the Eastern Moors on behalf of the Peak District National Park Authority.
In January 2011, after detailed negotiation, the Eastern Moors Partnership signed the lease to manage the Eastern Moors on behalf of the Peak District National Park, with whom we retain a key relationship.
Under the stewardship of Site Manager Danny Udall and his team, the EMP immediately embarked on a series of public meetings in order to find out how important the Eastern Moors are to local people and how they’d like to see them managed. Ride Sheffield attended the first meeting and immediately struck up a good working relationship with the team.
The open meetings were followed by the formation of a stakeholders group which has gone from strength to strength by bringing user groups together and promoting compromise and understanding. Ride Sheffield has attended almost every meeting since it’s inception.
The first really important issue was the Sheep Skulls DH track above the old Dyson factory. This is an interesting piece of land as much of the ground is either spoil from the digging of Totley Tunnel or from the old Dyson factory’s quarries and therefore very different in its ecology from the surrounding peat moorland. In spite of this, Danny felt that the existing track was sustainable providing that the top section which runs through a site of archaeological importance was declared out of bounds.
Local rider and activist Jon Cort was instrumental in negotiating this agreement. To his and Ride Sheffield’s horror, within a very short time riders unknown had dismantled a wall and started to ride the top section again. The reaction from Jon Cort, Ride Sheffield and the rest of the mountain bike community was immediate. The word went out on all channels, respected local riders like James Swinden added their weight, a local rider rebuilt the wall and since then there has been no trouble. A better case study of mountain bikers working constructively with land managers is hard to imagine.
Since then, our relationship has gone from strength to strength. We provided a good deal of volunteer labour to rebuild the Wimble Holme Hill bridleway and joined with other members of the stakeholders group to formulate a plan to open Barbrook Valley, Curbar and Froggatt Edges as bridleways. These have now been open for some time and a huge success.
With the EMP now managing Burbage and Houndkirk Moors, Ride Sheffield can be confident that the management of these wonderful landscapes is in good hands.