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Stanage & Eastern Moors: access update

 LadyMargaret 14 May 2020

Hi. I'm the BMC access rep for Stanage & Sheffield Moors.

I’ve put together some local information to help you decide if, when & how to visit the Eastern Moors this weekend, in addition to the general BMC guidance: https://www.thebmc.co.uk/can-i-start-climbing-and-hill-walking-again.

The moors are open, and it's 'legal' for us all to travel for exercise. But things definitely aren't 'normal'. It’s a constantly changing situation. I'll try to keep this updated, but if you find things have changed, let us know.

1. Not all car parks are open. In summary:

Stanage Plantation/Hollin Bank pay and display car park is open. Remember that this car park is cash only.  The verge outside the car park has just been re-seeded with wildflower seed, so please, please don't park there. Car park fees go towards upkeep of the Estate.

Stanage Popular & High Neb roadside parking is open. However, when it gets very busy and cars start to block the road, consider going somewhere else.

Curbar, Froggatt, Baslow, Birchen: all the National Trust & RSPB car parks are closed. Alternative parking is all roadside, and this whole area will get very busy. Curbar Gap can get so blocked you can’t turn round if you meet a car coming the other way. I’d strongly advise having a Plan B, in case you arrive and it’s parked up, rather than just squeezing in and making things worse.

Burbage: all parking areas open. Again, likely to get quickly parked up.

Millstone & Lawrencefield: PDNPA car park at Surprise View is open; pay & display is in operation (pay by card) & as far as we know being enforced.

Others: As far as we know the Severn Trent car park at Fairholmes is closed.

2. North Lees toilets are closed. In fact, all local toilets and cafes are closed. If you are thinking of travelling a long way you need to think about how you are going to deal with this. Go before you go! Don't go behind a boulder.

3. Many local shops are closed. Those that are open are focused on serving the local community and are worried about dealing with additional people. Normally we ask people to use local businesses to contribute to the local economy, but at the moment they are asking us to do the opposite, particularly in Hathersage. Best to bring your own food and drink with you.

4. The North Lees campsite is closed, as is all local accommodation. No van or overnight camping is allowed, particularly on Stanage. Locals are very concerned about human waste and other impacts of camping on the verges, and the police have been called to move on a number of camper vans already. 

5. Ground & crag nesting birds are very much back and the moors are full of the sounds of ring ouzels and curlews. There are a few nesting sites on Stanage and Burbage that have been signed, and BMC volunteers are out monitoring for new nest sites. As always, respect the signs, and keep your dog on a lead. For the most up to date information (and to report anything you find), see this thread on UKC: https://www.ukclimbing.com/forums/crag_access/stanage_ring_ouzels-719309

6. The edges will be busy. Not just with climbers - with walkers, runners, families, cyclists, paragliders, just about anyone that loves the moors is going to want to be back there. Possibly half of Sheffield. If you can visit a quieter area, or at a quieter time, then that might be a better choice. 

Stay safe out there.

Louise

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 gribble 14 May 2020
In reply to LadyMargaret:

Thanks very much for the update, greatly appreciated.

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 Mike P 14 May 2020
In reply to LadyMargaret:

Thank you for this clear, concise, and relevant advice. In a time of vague and poor "official" advice this spells out what people need to know in order to make sensible choices for themselves.

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 veteye 15 May 2020
In reply to LadyMargaret:

I agree with the others.

Thank you.

I'm probably not going to head to the national park for a little while longer (not out of some self-righteous approach, I've just not got the time freedom, and I'm not sure about things at the moment), but I'll have some idea of where to look, if and when I do go.

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 Sam Beaton 15 May 2020
In reply to LadyMargaret:

Many thanks for this. I'm definitely heading out for some eastern grit somewhere this afternoon but I hadn't considered the car parking situation before reading this

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 groovejunkie 15 May 2020
In reply to LadyMargaret:

Thanks Louise, that's really useful info. I'm absolutely staggered that someone could "dislike" your post. 

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In reply to LadyMargaret:

I haven't been up to Curbar Gap in the last few days, but I'm surprised to hear the car park there is still closed. The CEO of the NT on Today this morning was saying, IIRC, that all NT car parks were now open. Hopefully, they'll have it open soon if it isn't already.

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 LadyMargaret 15 May 2020
In reply to TobyA

There are some specific challenges with reopening Curbar Gap CP, which are being looked at but it will delay opening. 

As I understand it from people here, not all the NT car parks on the Eastern Moors will be open this weekend, so definitely have a Plan B if you're going out.

Whether the car park is open or not, Curbar Gap is going to be incredibly busy this weekend; definitely best avoided. If it's anything like as bad as it can be there's a genuine risk of not being able to get your car out at some points. 

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 Kim 15 May 2020
In reply to LadyMargaret:

I'll just add in here what I said in the other thread regarding Ring Ouzels (below). As it turns out, thus far they do not appear to have seized on the opportunity to nest on the deserted crags, so there is still currently only one restriction (Wall End Slab area). As always with the ouzels, things can change on a daily basis so still keep your eyes peeled for signs.

On the other hand Kestrels have seized the opportunity, and are currently nesting at Burbage South quarry and Quad Quarry (Curbar). There's a sign up at each of these so please try and give them a wide berth. They do usually pick somewhere quieter and are incubating now so it would be great to see them succeed. 

From the other thread:

> We have not been able to get out and locate nests to the same extent as usual, but we're now working  as hard as possible to find them and get signs up asap. Please be aware if you visit Stanage/Burbage/Higger/etc that signs may be out, but the absence of signs doesn't necessarily mean an absence of ouzels at present.

> If you see any ouzels carrying food, alarm calling (harsh chack-chack-chack) or exiting/entering a crack in the rock - move away from the area as quickly as possible and ideally let me know asap (email via here is fine).

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In reply to LadyMargaret:

Yep, it was getting pretty busy up Sanage/Burbage way this lunchtime. Burbage car park full, Stanage pop 2/3 full, Plantation virtually empty (I wonder why?) and High Neb overflowing onto the verge. The masses have returned!

Heard a Ring Ouzel up towards the Causeway but too far away to see where it was.

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 LadyMargaret 15 May 2020
In reply to LadyMargaret

A new summary of the BMC's guidance here, with specific technical guidance for climbers and hillwalkers:

https://thebmc.co.uk/do-you-need-to-change-the-way-that-you-climb-and-walk-with-covid19

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 LadyMargaret 21 May 2020
In reply to LadyMargaret:

An update for the Bank Holiday Weekend. 

National Trust car parks are reopening. Birchen car park is now open, as are Wooden Pole, Heywood (below Froggatt), and Longshaw. Parking may be limited though so be ready to go elsewhere. Curbar Gap car park remains closed, so best to avoid at busy times.

Fairholmes car park looks likely to be closed until June, although some other Severn Trent car parks are open. All Yorkshire Water car parks are likely to be closed this weekend.

Toilets, shops, accommodation, cafes etc. remain closed. A few places are doing take-out coffee etc. for passing trade, but in general there are very few facilities.

Last weekend the main issues in the Peak were at specific sites (such as Langsett) with limited parking that were popular with families and walkers. This is likely to be magnified over the Bank Holiday weekend, so as per all the guidance, avoid honey pots and try to go to places that are likely to be less busy if you can.

Finally, the fire risk level is high at the moment. There has already been one fire at Stanage this week. If you see a wildfire, report it immediately by calling 999 to notify the fire service.

Enjoy the sunshine!

Louise

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 Jenny C 22 May 2020
In reply to LadyMargaret:

Interesting comment about high fire risk. I'm sure in 2001 one argument for opening up the moors was that having people (who are generally responsible) on the land speeded up reporting of incidents, hopefully before the fires had time to be totally catastrophic.

Oh and Thankyou for the info, really useful.  

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 LadyMargaret 22 May 2020
In reply to LadyMargaret:

Hot off the press - Curbar Gap now open.

AND a really useful resource has gone up on the Peak District National Park website with the status of all car parks in the Peak, including how busy they are.

https://www.peakdistrict.gov.uk/visiting/places-to-visit/car-park-status

According to this Langsett and Fairholmes car parks are also open.

Some toilet facilities are open at car parks. Toilets at Stanage are closed.

Post edited at 17:58
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