David Rutley MP has added his support to the #PeakDistrictProud campaign, after lockdown easing has seen visitors flock to the Peak District National Park. This is a particular priority over the August Bank Holiday weekend.
In conversation with National Park Authority Chief Executive, Sarah Fowler, David shared his own recent experiences of exploring new areas of the UK’s first designated National Park, which sits on the doorstep of Macclesfield. Organisations across the Peak District have recorded an increase in visitors seeking respite in the great outdoors as coronavirus restrictions have been eased, with some multi-user trails witnessing a doubling of visits on the same period in 2019. Recent surveys in the area have shown that being outside, active and within attractive landscapes all feature highly for visitors making a trip to the National Park.
The increase in visitors, however, has not been without its challenges, with increased litter, unauthorised BBQs and so-called ‘fly camping’ all adding to the daily tasks of Park rangers. The National Park Authority have recently stressed to all visitors that whilst large areas of the Peak District are ‘Open Access’ land, landowner permission remains necessary for wild camping or the use of BBQs and open fires. This is particularly important over a busy Bank Holiday weekend.
After the video conference, Sarah Fowler added: “Both David and I share a collective ambition to generate more opportunities for active travel to and within the National Park and this fits strongly with the Government’s obesity strategy and getting people active on bikes. It is perhaps timely that our own cycle hire centres and trails have all seen a huge upsurge in demand post-lockdown as people turn to two wheels to maintain their health and wellbeing. We look forward to working on encouraging more innovation in sustainable use of the Peak District National Park, and sharing these ideas with Government.
David Rutley MP said: “We are truly lucky in Macclesfield to be a stone’s throw from the UK’s first ever National Park and like many others I feel grateful for these tremendous landscapes which have been a vital natural tonic as we carefully step our way through the recovery from coronavirus. In experiencing these wonderful areas, we also have a responsibility to care for and protect them. So, I ask everyone to ‘know before you go’, particularly ahead of the August Bank Holiday weekend, and respect local residents, communities and businesses and heed the advice of National Park rangers and others looking after the Peak District. Simple tasks like taking our litter home, parking considerately for our emergency services and key workers and social distancing all help to ensure we can be #PeakDistrictProud.”