Walkers, cavers and climbers can make their voices heard in plans for a national park.
William Clough in the Peak District
The Peak District National Park Authority wants the views of outdoors enthusiasts to help plan how the national park can cater for recreational visitors to the area. The survey also recognises the health benefits of encouraging the public to take part in outdoor activities.
Results from the survey, which can be completed online, will be used to help boost healthy outdoor activity to meet Government targets, plan to manage demand from park users and raise awareness of the area.
Water companies and the National Trust in the area will also be involved in the strategy, which recognises the benefits of the outdoor life.
Judy Merryfield, recreation strategy team manager, said: “Recreational activities play a massive part in the life of the national park. They make a huge contribution to the local economy and provide opportunities for people to enjoy a healthier lifestyle and visit the national park.
“But at the same time some activities can be noisy or cause damage to the landscape. Large numbers of visitors can also create congestion, pollution and problems with parking.
“This will be one of the biggest surveys carried out in the Peak District to find out what people are doing with their time when they come here to help us plan how to improve opportunities for all.”
Residents of the national park will also be consulted.
A workshop attended by 58 people has already been held to get the views of people representing different sports and recreation groups, interest groups, landowners and other organisations.
The survey can be viewed on the authority’s website.
Ms Merryfield said: “It only takes a few minutes to fill in the questionnaire so we hope as many people as possible will take the opportunity to give us the information we need to plan services better with our partners.
“We are also really keen to hear from people who don’t use the national park to find out what is putting them off and what services they would want to see before they would feel comfortable coming.”
The survey will run until 3 October.
- Meanwhile, a similar consultation is underway in one of Lancashire’s top outdoor playgrounds.
The Forest of Bowland, for many years the scene of bitter access battles between landowners and walkers, is drawing up a new management plan.
The Forest of Bowland Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty – one step down from a national park – is asking for views from outdoors enthusiasts on priorities for the area.
A spokesman said: “The Forest of Bowland AONB is a nationally protected landscape and internationally important for its heather moorland, blanket bog and rare birds. The AONB is managed by a partnership of landowners, farmers, voluntary organisations, wildlife groups, recreation groups, local councils and government agencies, who work to protect, conserve and enhance the natural and cultural heritage of this special area.
“The new management plan contains actions on conserving the natural and cultural landscape, encouraging a sustainable rural economy and vibrant communities, increasing opportunities to enjoy the area and responding to climate change.”
The consultation runs until 5 October and submissions can be made by email. Details are on the Bowland website.
The final plan will be published early next year.