Project Spotlight: Roaches Gateway

Next up in our Project Spotlight series is Roaches Gateway. This project is being led by the Staffordshire Wildlife Trust and is seeking to improve this heavily visited and wonderfully scenic location.

The iconic Roaches offers stunning views of the South West Peak and beyond; with a clear day showing views of Snowdonia, Liverpool Cathedral and Cannock Chase. This heavily visited area is protected because of its upland moor and blanket bog habitats and the many different species that rely on these fragile ecosystems for survival.

Pressure from the popularity of the Roaches and erosion has put these habitats in jeopardy. Roaches Gateway aims to improve the infrastructure and accessibility of this beautiful and important natural area. Over time scars and deep cuts have begun to mar the landscape and are allowing blanket bogs to dry out by draining water away far too rapidly.

Importantly, these deep cuts make walking difficult for visitors and results in short-cuts into the surrounding habitats.

Through the use of skilled contractors and volunteers over 1,000 metres of key footpaths will be restored. Additionally, 800 metres of drystone walls will also be repaired in order to save these important cultural landmarks and preserve the beautiful vistas.

Keep your eyes peeled for updates on this project and many others by checking our Facebook and Twitter pages.

Endangered White-Clawed Crayfish given new homes in the South West Peak

It’s official, white-clawed crayfish are back in the South West Peak!

While it may seem small to us the white-clawed crayfish is the UK’s largest native freshwater invertebrate and is an important component of our waterways. This often hidden and largely defenceless species is now globally endangered due to non-native competitors, disease and widespread habitat loss.

However, with funding from the Environment Agency, the Crayfish in Crisis project, part of the South West Peak Landscape Partnership, (supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund), is doing something about it. The goal of the project is to eventually re-establish permanent and stable populations in the South West Peak. The project team is surveying isolated headwaters in the Peak District to identify the best locations for white-clawed crayfish to call home. Once suitable new homes are found, then crayfish need to be sourced from so-called ‘donor’ populations which have good numbers of healthy native crayfish at present, but which may be at risk in the future.

One such example of a donor population is from the Forestry Commission’s Cannock Chase in Staffordshire. Nick Mott from Staffordshire Wildlife Trust has been working with the Forestry Commission and Staffordshire County Council at this site for the last few years. Here, there are good populations of native crayfish but sadly their time is limited due to ever-expanding populations of American signal crayfish nearby. Cannock Chase represents a good donor population to use for populating headwater streams.

James Stewart, Forestry Commission Wildlife Ranger said: “We have been working hard with Nick for several to years protect the crayfish and improve their habitat. It is great to have such a healthy population and be in a position to support an important project like this. The thought that our work could contribute to a new, safe population of native crayfish is something we are proud of.”

Nick who is leading the project said: “We are delighted to announce that the conservation partners were able to establish our first two ‘Ark’ sites during the first year of the project. Together with future translocations, we hope that they will form the nucleus of new breeding populations in this area. The sites were selected with great care and our aim is to protect them into the future. The biggest threat remains the spread of American signal crayfish and the ‘crayfish plague’ they sometimes carry.”

To help protect the white-claws, we have an important message for visitors to watercourses in the Peak District: please always Check, Clean & Dry your wellies, fishing gear or dogs before you enter the water. Please do the same at the end of your day. Here’s the website address for more information:

As with all great ventures it is impossible to succeed alone; conservation partners are providing both time and funding. Tim Brooks, Environment Agency Biodiversity Technical Officer is excited about this most recent effort to improve the long term chances of the species “White-clawed crayfish are a keystone species in our freshwater environment and this work is a real positive step in conserving our native wildlife for future generations”.

Project Spotlight: Crayfish in Crisis

Next up in our Project Spotlight series is Crayfish in Crisis:

While it may seem small to us the White Clawed Crayfish is one of the UK’s largest freshwater invertebrates and is an important part of our water systems. This often invisible and largely defenseless species is globally endangered due to non-native competitors joining the pool and widespread habitat loss.

As pressure mounts on native crayfish they have started to isolate themselves in small headwaters and in still ponds where they are slightly more protected from the North American Signal crayfish and the crayfish plague it spreads. These small endangered creatures need our help and the South West Peak Landscape Partnership and the Staffordshire Wildlife Trust (working with the Environment Agency, the Forestry Commission and the Staffordshire County Council) have a plan.

The South West Peak is an ideal location for the crayfish to recover their numbers. The area has numerous isolated streams and ponds dotting the landscape where crayfish can take refuge and ensure their survival long into the future.

With the leadership of Nick Mott from the Staffordshire Wildlife Trust, this project will survey and monitor crayfish populations and try to find the best locations for White-Clawed Crayfish to call home. When these idyllic locations  are identified the project will provide first-class transportation for the crayfish to migrate into these new homes and thrive. The goal is to eventually establish a new permanent and stable population in the South West Peak.

Check back here frequently for updates on this and all our other projects.


Project Spotlight: Better Outside in the Goyt Valley

The goal of the Better Outside project is to improve visitor experiences throughout the countryside of the South West Peak. This wide-reaching project has a goal of improving access in a number of areas for those who wish to fully enjoy the outdoors, but are also dealing with health or mobility issues.

As part of the plan for this project two walking routes in the vicinity of the Fernilee Reservoir will be upgraded to make them suitable for access by all visitors. Additionally, ten stiles with be replaced with wicket gates to make enjoying the area a little easier for those who want to fully experience the South West Peak.

In order to encourage visitors and the community to get out and enjoy these improvements we will also be offering interpretive talks and guided walks along the trails. So watch our Facebook, Twitter and this site for updates on Better Outside and all our projects as we will be posting dates and other information as the project progresses.

Discovering Grassland Fungi Training






The Cheshire hills are home to communities of fungal species which are grassland specialists. These communities can be valuable indicators of ancient grassland. Also, like their grassland habitat, they are threatened by improvement, disturbance, or cessation of management.

This workshop will focus on one particular group of grassland fungi, the Waxcaps. It will cover their habitat requirements, their identification using colour, cap shape, size and texture, gills and smell, their use in evaluating the significance of grassland sites and current management advice for waxcap-grassland. There will be a mix of indoor work and time out in the field.

This event is being run in partnership with the National Trust at Lyme Park and as part of the South West Peak Glorious Grasslands project.

Sign-up and Event Info:

When: Sunday 15 October 2017 from 10:00 to 15:00
What to bring: Suitable outdoor clothing & a packed lunch.
Cost: The event will be free, however, National Trust parking fees will apply at £8/day.

Community Grants Applications

This grants programme is part of the South West Peak Landscape Partnership Scheme. It aims to enable communities of the South West Peak (SWP) to celebrate their built, natural and cultural heritage; to research it, establish events and make improvements to their local built and natural heritage. The Landscape Partnership Scheme is funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF).

Grant applications must contribute to the mission statement of the South West Peak Landscape Partnership: ‘By working together in the South West Peak, we will shape a better future for our communities, landscape, wildlife and heritage where trust and understanding thrive’.

Take a look at the below documents for further information and guidance on how to apply!

SWP Community Grants Scheme Criteria

SWP Community Grants Application Form (revised Sept 17)

For More Information Contact:

Sally Bentley – Community Grants Officer

Bank House
20 St. Edward Street
ST13 5DS
Tel: 01538 381356

South West Peak Agricultural Business Academy

The Fresh Start Agricultural Business Academy is launching a South West Peak tailored academy! This exciting program is designed to help support future farmers, growers and land managers.

Applications are due by Wednesday 27 September so apply now!

The South West Peak Team is Out and About!

Come out to the Leek Show on Saturday 29 July to hear about all the fantastic upcoming projects that the South West Peak Landscape Partnership has on offer and find out what we have coming up in the future. Our team will be set up all day to enjoy the show and talk to folks about our mission.

Interested in volunteering but not sure how? Maybe you have a great idea for an area that could use a little help from one of our projects? Come and have a chat! We’d love to meet you and learn what matters to you and your community in the South West Peak.

Show Information:

See you there!

Evaluation tender open

We are inviting tenders from suitably qualified and experienced individuals/organisations to support the partnership in monitoring and evaluating the scheme over the coming four and a half years.

The appointed consultant will subject the scheme to external scrutiny over this period, while also working closely with the partnership to help us to integrate monitoring of project outputs and outcomes into our project management system; and develop our legacy plan. This process will enable us to:

  • Demonstrate to the Heritage Lottery Fund, to other funders, to partner organisations and other interested parties what is being achieved;
  • Provide us with a mechanism that will inform and support scheme management and scheme governance;
  • Look forward as well as backward – in particular helping us to plan project and scheme legacy;
  • Help the partnership to maximise what it (and others) learn from delivery of the Landscape Partnership Scheme.

The successful bidder will work with both the core LPS team and individual project leads to ensure all our monitoring and evaluation activities are fit for purpose.

Deadline extended to 5pm Thursday 27 July. Download the SWP LPS – Monitoring & Evaluation Brief and terms & conditions.

A Visit to Warslow’s Meadows

Interested in taking a stroll? The South West Peak Landscape Partnership is offering a free guided walk led by our Grasslands Officer. Come and find out more about our Glorious Grasslands project, which is dedicated to protecting and restoring flower-rich meadows throughout the South West Peak.

On Saturday 1 July at 10:00 our project officer will lead this informative walk around Warslow’s traditional hay meadows. This is a great way to celebrate National Meadows’ Day and enjoy the wonderful diversity and beauty of this largely unchanged landscape.

This walk will be of interest to anyone wanting to learn more about these scarce habitats and their value for wildlife and people. As an added bonus the Warslow Beer Festival is also taking place from 12:00 onwards and offers an extra visitor experience!

Click Here to Register

Event Details:

Terrain: Good footpaths, but some uneven terrain.

Start: 1000

Finish: 1300

Meeting Point: Manifold Academy, off Leek Road, Warslow, Buxton, Derbyshire.

Postcode: SK17 0JP

Grid Reference: SK084 589

Parking: Free

Dogs: Allowed

Near a Bus Route?: Yes

Cost: FREE but attendees must book a place as places are limited to 20.