Off we went on Sunday 6th November on a guided fact-finding to better understand the issues for our Uplands & Moorlands Consultation Response. For a fuller analysis of see the feature in our recent newsletter. Having been advised by our local expert that Blackamoor was very wet, muddy and cold we came well-prepared with our aim for this guided tour was to learn about the issues and differences between the managed and less managed landscape at Blackamoore.
Accordingly our small group were equipped and plied our guide with questions to gain insights and learn more about our area. We began to appreciate the likely implications of the Final Draft Sheffield Moors Masterplan (opens as PDF file).
Throughout, our guide took care to draw our attention to sites of interest such as the plaque to remind us all that Alderman Graves bequeathed Blacka Moor for public use (see Photograph 1).
As can be seen in some of the photographs, the area has very little woodland because it is used as farmland to feed sheep and cows which are the primary way to manage and maintain this area’s reputation for grouse shooting. By these farming practices, we could see the destruction of Mother Nature’s habitat for as far as the eye could see across the hills and valleys.
To give a fuller picture, Blacka Moor is in three main parts, the woodland where we did not go on this walk, the sheep enclosure which is still used by a grazing tenant. Between these two areas is a large area once used for grouse shooting but is now wilder with scattered young trees bilberry heather and bracken.
Although there were no sheep or cattle on Blackamoor during our visit, we could see traces of their existence by the lack of habitation, shrubs and tree shoots which are consumed with an insatiable appetite. It is entirely possible these animals were no longer working the land because farmers need to renew their contracts with Sheffield Moors Partnership which assumes responsibility for such arrangements.
On we went.
Fortunately another equally unsightly blot on the landscape – electricity pylons used to grace this exquisite location –was removed a while ago leaving the most beautiful view across the valley unstained and restored to its former glory. Removing such unsightly cables and burying them underground by the road is a major achievement by any standards.
To the best of our knowledge we never sighted any deer or other animals apart from the odd cyclist or people out walking their dogs. Nevertheless during our 90 minute walk we had great fun walking in the mud, crossing streams, navigating down steep. stony inclines, walking through a fen and appreciating the diverse beauty of lichens.
Our tour ended near a stretch of rhodendron bushes – a natural soundbreak from the hustle and bustle of traffic on the main Hathersage Road – that is until a large man-made footpath was thoughtlessly carved through it.
Very generously, our guide took us back to his home where his wife, Chris, met us with a warm welcome, light refreshments and what I am assured was a delicious home-made sponge cake.
The piece de resistance for the three of us, was our guide’s computerised photographs giving us fresh opportunities to marvel at the beauty of our heritage which we need to protect.
There’s still time to submit your response to the Sheffield Moors Partnership Steering Group which we believe greatly welcome comments on their draft Master Plan and is intended to be a live document. Key actions will be reviewed annually during the first 5 years with inputs from wider stakeholders which the Steering Group will amend as necessary.Send your response by Friday 23rd November to Nick Sellwood at Dark Peak Area Office, Edale End, Hope, Hope Valley, Derbs S33 Email firstname.lastname@example.org; Dark Peak Area Office: 01433 670903 White Peak Area Office: 01335 350503 Other useful links and contacts are: