The crag is owned and managed by Natural England and located in the Derbyshire Dales National Nature Reserve.
The formal Open Access restriction has now been lifted so access for climbing is available.
A formal Open Access restriction was enforced at Ravensdale at the request of Natural England until 31st July 2018. The BMC did not endorse this restriction as NE did not share any evidence of nesting peregrines on the crag. This follows a report from a climber of peregrine chicks on Raven Buttress which were subsequently shown to be jackdaws (a species which does not require restiction). Natural England claim that there is additional evidence of peregrines elsewhere on the crag, but are unwilling to share this information with the BMC. BMC monitoring of the site since the initial climber report and up until this point has failed to show any peregrines nesting on the crag. Despite attempts to setup site meetings with NE on site to establish whether this information is correct or not, and if correct to establish a voluntary restriction, NE have chosen once again to pursue a formal restriction under CRoW Act legislation.
Following a successful breeding season in 2017 for both peregrine and raven with reasonable negotiated restrictions for discreet areas of crag between Natural England (the landowner) and the BMC, unfortunately precautionary restrictions for the whole crag were imposed by request of Natrual England in 2018 without evidence of peregrines present and dispalying nesting behjaviour on the crag.
This CRoW restriction expired on 31st May as no birds were found to have nested. Despite monitoring by Natural England and the local raptor group, there was been no evidence of peregrines nesting on the crag, although individuals had been seen in the area - albeit not displaying any nesting behaviour.
In mid-June climbers identified a possible nest and reported it to the BMC, leading to a short period of voluntary restriction until site visits confirmed that the reported sighting was actually a jackdaw chick (which does not require a restriction as the species are very resiliant to climbers nearby). More details and background to the original restriction in our in depth article.
Open access land, designated under the Countryside & Rights of Way Act (2000) give area access rather than linear access as provided by public rights of way. It also gives a legal right of access specifically for climbing, as well as walking and other quiet recreation on foot.
Please bear in mind however that the landowner still has the right to restrict access for up to 28 days per year (often used on public safety grounds for shooting in moorland areas), and can also apply for longer term restrictions with Natural England (such as bans on dogs, or regular restrictions during particular times of year). It is important to check for these restrictions regularly as they can be added at short notice – all details for open access land in England can be found on Natural England’s website.