Blacka RAG Meeting – Feedback
Si Bowns has a little report on what is happening on Blacka at the moment…
At the end of November, I attended the Black Moor Reserves Advisory Group (RAG) meeting, along with John Horscroft and Henry Norman. For once mountain bikers had a decent representation at a meeting. John posted a quick writeup HERE, but now that the minutes have been circulated – I’ve put together a few more words.
As a bit of background, Blacka Moor is an area to the South-West of Sheffield, handed to Sheffield City Council by Alderman Graves in 1933. With woodland, grass, moors and SSSI designation combined with position between Sheffield and the Peak District, it’s a popular area for walkers, runners, photographers and nature enthusiasts. It happens to have some pretty decent bike trails too!
Sheffield Wildlife Trust (SWT) is in charge of the management and planning for Blacka Moor, along with several other across Sheffield. One point we made at the meeting was that we mountain bikers, along with other members of the general public, need better updates and information on how the area is looked after and what’s going on there day to day. Now that SWT have Ride Sheffield as a point of contact, this should improve – in the meantime take a look at the SWT website here
In terms of specifics at the meeting
Dark Peak Nature Improvement Area (Dark Peak NIA)
Led by the RSPB, a successful bid has been made for funding for the Dark Peak NIA, which is a partnership run project to secure funding for 2012-2015 as a pilot scheme. As I see it, this is a funding mechanism for other projects, so it’s a positive to see the Dark Peak NIA move forward.
Higher Level Stewardship (HLS)
HLS is a government and European funded scheme, giving outlines/guidance and funding to successful applicants in order to carry out the work they have planned. Black Moor/SWT have applied for HLS, having been in the Countryside Stewardship Scheme (CSS) previously. Again, I view this as way for SWT to carry out their plans for Blacka.
We were asked for our views on the HLS application, along with commenting in general on the management of Blacka Moor. PLenty of points were raises, SWT will be writing this up (soon, hopefully!)
Sheffield Moors Partnership
This is one of the more interesting ones for us – the Sheffield Moors Partnership has been set up as another umbrella grouping involving the local big hitters;
– Peak District National Park Authority
– National Trust
– Sheffield Wildlife Trust
– Sheffield City Council
Of interest to us is the intention to further bridleway access to link Sheffield to the Peak District – click here for the documents and have a look at the Maps – Figure 7 shows proposed areas for links. None of this is confirmed and has a long timescale to run, but it’s a really positive sign to see that the partnership is pushing for these links!
In terms of how this relates to Blacka Moor – the outcome of the planning for SMP will feed into the Blacka Moor management plan early next year. More on that and how it affects us as we find out.
Paths and Bridleways
1) Lenny Hill – as many of us have seen, work has been carried out on this Bridleway, leading down to the stepping stones. This was carried out by contractors on behalf of Sheffield City Council public rights of way team. Ride Sheffield has expressed concerns to the RoW team that this work was massively over the top and far from sensitive to the area- with work being far more invasive than we’d been led to believe. Discussion at the RAG meeting made it clear that SWT (and everyone else!) were of the same opinion and the conclusion was that much more consultation needs to be carried out should there be plans for any similar work. Ride Sheffield have made contact with this in mind. This will also fall under the access & recreation section for the Blacka Moor Management plan.
2) The Wimbleholme Hill bridleway leading onto Totley Moor is part of the Eastern Moors Partnership land and has been earmarked for improvement works – work actually started on the 1st December, with another volunteer day on 20th December
See the plan for the work here and get involved with the work days – make contact with Ride Sheffield on Facebook and/or Sarah Sedgewick at SWT.
Ride Sheffield presence at the Blacka RAG meeting has opened more communication and allowed us to comment on proposed works – certainly well worth it. If you can make it, the volunteer work days are a great chance to help maintain and improve local trails, please make the effort if you can.