Tuesday, 2 January 2018

No Promises

I've previously made a resolution to avoid mentioning SWT's absurdities; I failed to keep to it then  so I'm making no promises for 2018.

Now the 12 year olds who comprise the management and trustees of that organisation have decided to instruct one of the staff to keep up a regular commentary on Twitter. And some of the output is notable even by their standards.

I copy here a recent Twitter contribution from Sheffield Wildlife Trust.  First we have to be surprised that the impression is given that anyone from SWT has been anywhere near Blacka during a holiday period; maybe the first time ever as usually there's no chance of contacting any of them during holidays despite their being responsible for this 'magnificent' and 'spectacular' public site (their words). Still any new evidence that they now want to claim real commitment to Blacka ought to be welcome.

How nice it would be to find something positive to say about this shower. God knows we've tried.

Considering I've been saying that Blacka looks wonderful in the snow I find it pretty bewildering that their example of 'looking fabulous' is so far from 'fabulous' as this: an utterly boring treeless scene which even the snow fails to make appealing. See this post for what is really worthwhile on Blacka. Can anyone not get this?

But why does SWT claim to encourage people to visit Blacka in the snow when they make no effort to make it easy and even make it more difficult? It is part of their job to make access easy but they do the opposite. Just for the benefit of those who do not know the site there follows an explanation.

There is just one car park for Blacka from the Hathersage Road. In fact it's not really a car park at all as nobody claims responsibility for it: it's just a space which people use and which neither SCC nor SWT have done anything to develop, although they are happy to exploit it by putting up their publicity posters and use it as a meeting point. SWT made a commitment to get something done about it some years back but have failed to honour that. In snow or ice it is inaccessible comprised of a bit of crumbling tarmac with sharp edges. You might get into it but getting out again is another thing.

From here it rises to about 1 in 3  often covered in ice in winter. At the bottom you may find it dangerous to get out of a car..

Once there was an alternative 200 yards lower down on the other side of the road at Piper House. That entailed having to cross the A road but that was sealed off by the highways people with no consultation and no alternative provided. A layby another 200 yards below was used by some visitors because it was opposite an old gateway.

This was recently blocked off by SWT responding to a ridiculous whim of their cattle grazier: not content with the £20k worth of barbed wire fencing and even more on stone walling he thought his cows might breach these fortifications and get out onto the road**. This requirement of a double layer of boundary stockading must be unique:  Eastern Moors stock on the other side of the road do not need that.

The result is that anyone along that stretch of Hathersage Road wanting to access Blacka needs to walk 200 yards from the layby along the side of a busy road to get to the nearest access point.

To add a personal element to this, I currently walk with a stick and with difficulty needing a hip replacement. Others with problems may not be so persistent. The verge is not easy to walk on and the road itself is more than usually hazardous. The bend has been the scene of fatal accidents and is probably the most dangerous in the whole region; it is common to find that cars have gone into or through the stone wall.

Regular visitors to Blacka know what to think of SWT's suggestion that we visit Blacka in wintry weather.

** as reported by SWT's reserve manager.


walkpeak said...

The land is actually in North East Derbyshire and so SCC has no responsibility for its upkeep.

Neil said...

Wrong. Blacka Moor belongs to Sheffield City Council who are the primary landowners. Sheffield Wildlife Trust are the leaseholders. The land was given to SCC in 1933.

walkpeak said...

I disagree. If you look on the OS map, the car parking area on Hathersage Road is in North East Derbyshire.

Neil said...

Don't understand what you are saying. Land ownership is different to where the land is situated. Are you saying all land in North East Derbs admin area belongs to NE Derbs? Because that's obviously not true.

walkpeak said...

In the blog post you were commenting about the poor condition of the car parking area on Hathersage Road and were criticising SCC in general. That area is in NE Derbyshire and so the City Council has no jurisdiction there. I don't know who owns the land.

Neil said...

Ah, beginning to see the point you are making. By 'the land' you mean the land the track and parking area is on, not Blacka itself. That wasn't clear. Well there's some history to that.
NE Derbs have previously declined responsibility along with PDNPA and SCC, presumably because they "can't be bothered". But SCC had previously taken it upon themselves to do some (poor quality)work to this track therefore accepting responsibility. This was done years ago to create access to the land currently used for sheep grazing which is part of Blacka and belongs to SCC. It is my point that SCC and SWT combined have a duty to provide good quality access to the land particularly in the light of the closing down of the Piper House parking area.