Alarming work on Pin Dale by Derbyshire County Council

As we previously reported, Derbyshire County Council (DCC) have planned maintenance work on multiple Peak District trails this winter and provided an indication of the nature of the work based their site visits with Peak District Local Access Forum (LAF), though further details from DCC were not forthcoming.

Extremely concerning work has now been done on the Pin Dale path near Hope, which seems to be significantly at odds with the original understanding of the work as using “locally sourced limestone hydraulically bound to suit the surrounding landscape”. Rather, the material appears to be a mix tarmac road planings and general rubble from a brownfield site (though we are unsure if it is still being locally sourced).

We find it very odd that Natural England, Peak District National Park Authority and the LAF would have approved this material for use in a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI), a protective designation which covers all of the Pin Dale site.

Mountain bikers enjoying the limestone of Pin Dale during a British Heart Foundation charity ride in 2018.

Pin Dale, Cave Dale, and SSSI’s near Castleton – Magic Map, Defra

We understand similar works are about to begin at Cave Dale on the doorstep of the picturesque and popular tourist village of Castleton, which is also a SSSI and unique limestone landscape.

Cave Dale bridleway, a section of The Limestone Way, below Peveril Castle, Castleton.

We have brought the works to the attention of other local user groups, the Peak District National Park Authority as well as Natural England who are responsible for protecting the SSSI status of the route. Historic England, Friends of the Peak District and Cycling UK. But would suggest members contact DCC directly and email DCC

Given the huge discrepancy between the planned work, that was apparently agreed and approved, and what has occurred on the ground. And given what is at stake: We hereby call on Derbyshire County Council to halt all further work on the ground to prevent further irreparable damage to paths in the Peak District’s protected landscapes. Until, and so that, the contractors’ work on the ground can be fully investigated and appraised, in conjunction with the relevant and properly qualified bodies, i.e. Natural England (responsible for SSSIs), Peak District National Park Authority and the Local Access Forum.

17 January 2022