Stanage Open Forum

I attended the Stanage open forum held in Hathersage yesterday (23rd Sept) and thought I would give the membership some feedback.
The meeting was well attended with a good mix of user groups, walkers, cyclist, local residents and farmers but mainly a good turn out by the climbers.
After the formal re-election of the steering committee the Peak District National Park (PDNP) made a presentation of their new management structure and their vision for the future.
It was clear that like other public sector groups the PDNP have had their funding greatly reduced and need to recoup some of these cut backs by charges to users. This would mainly come from an increase in parking charges with additional pay and display at Stanage.

A lively open discussion in regards of parking became the main topic and the climbers who would be the greatest affected by these proposed charges were the most vocal but cyclist and local resident also had some very good points.
I personally had not known of the history of the parking issues in the area and learnt about the Stanage sticker (£15 annual parking at the plantation car park) which was short lived and replaced by a £40 annual parking fee which covers all PDNP car parks, this of course would be of little use if Stanage was the only area you wish to use as in the climbing community.
There seems to be no debate over the parking issues from the PDNP and the impression I got was that they would be implementing these changes regardless as well as ensuring these charges are enforced (parking fines). This was a shame as their opening presentation quoted that the National parks are there for the public to enjoy but when the public voiced their concerns it seemed they didn’t take them onboard.

After the “parking debate” we were treated to a talk by Bill Gordon who has been involved with Stanage for over 30 years and along with a slide presentation we learnt about the ancient carved markings in the rocks and stones at Stanage, some marking boundaries and some of a religious nature but some a total mystery. So next time it’s blown out I’ll be checking out this ancient graffiti.

Steve Spingys

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