Peak District Open! Well, sort of?

We have been contacted by the Peak District National Park Authority about our previous Peak District news item (Breaking News: Peak District Closed!) that was apparently ?misleading nonsense?. After double checking we can confirm that access to large areas of the Peak District has been suspended but access to key climbing areas has been negotiated by the BMC?s Peak Access Team, as correctly reported in our original news item. After investigating further, we now understand that the Peak District National Park Authority has no desire to arbitrarily restrict access to the Peak but is legally required to take preventative action by closing open moorland once the fire risk reaches ?critical? according to the Fire Severity Index. The CRoW Act allows the Authority to restrict access to open moorland and along concession paths, which is what they have done but does not allow them to restrict access along Public Rights of Way. However, this leads to the potentially ridiculous situation that you could be allowed to walk along the top of Froggatt Edge (a Public Right of Way) but not be allowed to climb on it (Access Land). Fortunately the Authority have taken an enlightened view to this and along with the Peak Access Team have agreed that climbing will be permitted in key areas. Details below. There have already been two serious fires at Bleaklow and Black Hill as well as fires on the North Yorkshire Moors. It is hoped that climbers will take a responsible attitude to the access that has been negotiated for them and report any fires immediately (dial 999) and be on the look out for anyone stupid enough to BBQ or smoke. It goes go without saying that any fire that orginates at the base of a crag will almost certainly jeopardise climbing for the rest of the summer and years to come. For these restrictions to be lifted the Fire Severity Index has to be below ?extreme? for 5 consecutive days. More information about the Index can be found on this website: There is one exception to the access ban to open moorland and that is the Burbage Valley, where you can access Burbage North, South, West and the boulders by the normal paths but there is absolutely no access to roam freely in the valley. OPEN Stanage (Popular End to the Causeway), Plantation Boulders, Curbar, Froggatt, Millstone, Burbage North, South, West, Higgar Tor, Birchen, Roaches (Upper Tier, Skyline, Hen Cloud), Ramshaw, Windgather.CLOSED Cratcliffe, Robin Hoods Stride, Chatsworth, Gardoms, Baslow, Bamford, Rivelin, Wimberry, Dovestones Edge and Dovestones Tor, Lawrencefield, Yarncliffe Quarry, Paddle Quarry, Five Clouds, Newstones, Baldstones, Gib Tor, Back Forest, Grabatch, Castlenaze.UNKNOWN (outside of the National Park ? Check signs locally) Black Rocks, Wharncliffe Peak District National Park Authority PRESS RELEASE: Help prevent moorland fires in Peak District National Park People are being urged to help prevent the risk of moorland fires in the Peak District National Park as temperatures continue to soar. As a precaution, the right to go off the beaten track onto open moorland under the Countryside and Rights of Way Act (CRoW) has been suspended for the first time since open access was launched here in 2004 – although walkers are still welcome to use all public rights of way. National Park head of access and recreation Sean Prendergast emphasised: “This does not mean that the Peak District is closed. People are welcome to walk all over the National Park as long as they stick to public footpaths – there are still 2,200km of rights of way fully open.” The Peak District Fire Operations Group is on standby to spring into action with specialised equipment to douse any blazes that do arise, and people are asked not to smoke, light naked flames or have barbecues anywhere near moorland areas. Higher-risk locations on 240 sq km of moorland are being patrolled from dawn to dusk by rangers with binoculars, maps, two-way radios and mobile phones to convey accurate information to fire control rooms. One of the major moorland owners, the National Trust, is bringing in temporary inflatable dams that can be set up quickly and filled with water to supply helicopters. Sean Prendergast explained: “A fire will only break out if somebody starts it, either through carelessness or a deliberate act of malice. “We want to appeal to people to take extra care not to smoke or light fires in the area, or even throw cigarette butts out of car-windows. It only takes a spark to cause a devastating blaze, from which the moorland habitats and wildlife take years to recover.” Signs are being erected at moorland access points telling walkers about the temporary suspension, which will be lifted as soon as the risk subsides. The situation will be reviewed after the weekend. People with any queries may contact the National Park Authority on 01629 816361. Climbers are still welcome to use the National Park-owned Stanage Edge and The Roaches, and Sheffield Council´s Burbage Edge, as long as they only use public paths to get there and keep off the moorland. The Peak District Fire Operations Group includes the National Park Authority, all six fire and rescue services that cover the National Park, the National Trust, Severn Trent Water, United Utilities, and the Peak Park Moorland Owners and Tenants Association.