The Peak District National Park has been improved as a place to go walking
and as a haven for wildlife, due to concerted human action over the past five years.
That is the conclusion of a report by the national park authority, which revealed a combination of volunteers, farmers and employees of the authority itself have all succeeded in improving the local environment and economy through the carrying out of the 2006-11 Peak District National Park management plan.
Among the achievements to benefit walkers was the co-operation of landowners in restoring moorland vegetation through the Moors for the Future Partnership, which has included path repairs as well as work to reverse soil erosion and to improve water and carbon storage.
Footpaths have also been maintained and repaired through the work of around 3,000 volunteer rangers, who have collectively given 5,020 days a year on average to this and other tasks such as repairing stone walls and fences.
Nor is it just the ground underfoot that has improved for walkers, as the visual experience has been enhanced by a partnership between the national park authority and Friends of the Peak District to move over five km of overhead electric cables underground, while farmers and landowners have ensured 97 per cent of Sites ofSpecial Scientific Interest are now in a "favourable" or "improving" condition, compared with 50 per cent in 2006.
Nor is it just walkers who have seen matters improve, as the development of the Monsal trail has been hailed as a major advance for cyclists, with the old tunnels on the former railway line being re-opened and the Pedal Peak District project encouraging thousands to take up cycling for leisure or commuting.
The national park is now looking to the future with its 2012-17 plan, which includes an emphasis on accessibility and encouraging visitors to contribute to conservation.