Folkard: a week's work

Posted by Henry Folkard on 04/03/2006

There’s no such thing as a typical week’s work for a BMC Access Rep Henry Folkard gives an insight into his schedule, showing just why we should never take access for granted.

Monday was mostly spent on the phone about two huge developments with permanent consequence for the landscape and environment on the Peak National Park - and for BMC members who want themselves and their children to enjoy what’s left of it.

One involves quarrying and the other roads. There were also a few things to attend to after Saturday’s meeting of the Local Access Forum, including mounting a BMC campaign against the proliferation of new fences which effectively deny the access we won under CroW, plus preparation for meetings over the next four days, and a quick visit to Horseshoe to litter pick and check temporary signs.

Tuesday was the meeting of the Alport Advisory Group - a really positive initiative to restore one of the Peak’s grandest and quietest valleys to a natural state. No access problems, this was more about management and work plans. But before the meeting, a quiet word with the appropriate landowner resolves a vexed matter of belay stakes at a popular crag, and after it, a detailed discussion on BMC strategy on the major road scheme. I report back to other access reps and someone involved in a 1979 campaign before snatching an hour in the garden.

Wednesday is “Rights of Way Improvement Plans” day. An analysis of three huge questionnaires to inform strategy for future priorities, and the opportunity to feed in views expressed by the Area Committee. Over coffee we clear up one or two items with the Local Access Forum secretary and my opposite number from the Ramblers’ Association.

Thursday - the Stanage Forum Steering Group was told that it had been decided to erect a large number of large interpretive signs round and about the crag. “Oh no,” we said, “Stanage is about open wilderness, not an exhibition ground for manmade intrusions.” This rather upset some people who liked their sign - tough. There was also an update on Ring Ouzels and car crime - not, apparently, related.

Friday came and it was time to attend a National Park extraordinary meeting on the quarry issue. The BMC is being represented at the Public Enquiry. I had not registered a wish to speak formally, but managed a word with the National Park Chairman, Chief Officer and Director of Recreation (who is later also berated by a local Councillor and Authority member about those signs), and also discussed a land management issue at Horseshoe Quarry with the manager of a local extractive industry business. Back home, and I contact a guidebook editor about access notes for a private publication - he welcomes a steer from the BMC. In the evening it’s off to the Village Hall to advise local Parish Councils on access issues.

That’s all, apart from over ten phone calls to other Access Reps and Head Office - some quite lengthy. What will next week bring? Who knows!

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