A 15-year blueprint for the management of the Sheffield Moors has been launched today. Its 'landscape-scale vision' for the area includes major habitat restoration and improved footpath links.
An alliance of environmental organisations have come up with the masterplan, “Making Connections – a landscape vision for the Sheffield Moors”, setting out how the Moors will be looked after from now until 2028.
Wildlife will be encouraged to move around and thrive right across the area through a programme of habitat management and restoration. At the same time people should be better catered for, with a 'joined up' path and bridleway network that will link surrounding communities across the landscape.
Formed in 2010, the body behind the plan is the Sheffield Moors Partnership (SMP) - a collaboration between the Peak District National Park Authority, RSPB, National Trust, Sheffield City Council, Sheffield and Rotherham Wildlife Trust and Natural England, which came together to develop said 'landscape-scale vision'.
The SMP's Nabil Abbas said:
'The Sheffield Moors are unique: their proximity to England’s fourth biggest city means that they are an easily accessible wild landscape for millions of people. The organisations who manage this land have formed a strong partnership, agreeing a clear direction which we can all deliver on.'
'The publication of the masterplan is a landmark for the Partnership, marking the end of a three year process where hundreds of local people have fed in their opinions; we’ve produced an agreed plan of action which is already making a difference to the way we manage this precious moorland landscape.'
Through neighbouring landowners working together, the vision aims to ensure that countryside management work is carried out in a consistent and efficient way across the whole moorland landscape.
The Partnership also wants to connect more with local people and get folk more involved through volunteering and a series of events, as well as on-site information.
Just seven miles from the centre of Sheffield, and within the Peak District National Park, the Sheffield Moors cover a 56km² mosaic of moorland, meadows, bogs, deciduous woodlands, and dramatic gritstone edges such as Stanage.
They are home to a wealth of wildlife including one of only two red deer herds in the National Park, and - apparently - its only colony of adders. The area is a hotspot for humans too, attracting thousands of walkers, runners, mtb-ers, and even the common or garden climber.
To help develop the masterplan, a series of public workshops and consultation roadshows were held over recent years. Upwards of 1000 people had a say, plus organisations including the British Mountaineering Council, The Ramblers, Hunter Archaeology Society, and Friends of the Peak District.
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 wildlife. Through the Dark Peak NIA, £400,000 has been secured to help implement the Sheffield Moors masterplan.
Copies of the planning document are available to view at local libraries in Sheffield and North East Derbyshire. It can also be downloaded here.