Joining a national park volunteer work group

It's an often-misunderstood fact that one of the most destructive elements in Green Road maintenance is nature herself. The unregulated flow of water can, in a short amount of time, far surpass the impact of thousands of feet, hooves and wheels. High Peaks & Potteries TRF teamed up with Peak District National Park’s conservation volunteers on a working party to tame the flow of water down Cumberland Lane. Peter Potts reports

Jewell in the crown

There is no doubt in anyone’s mind that the Peak District National Park is one of the nation’s ‘jewel in the crown’ locations when it comes to a huge range of outdoor activities. Whether you’re into trail riding, horse riding or just Sunday afternoon strolls, you’d be hard pressed to find an area that caters for every level of adventurer.

Perched at the gateway to the Park, the guys (and girls) at the High Peak and Potteries TRF are aware of their privileged position and recognise that with this privilege comes great responsibility. In group rep Andy Teece’s words…

“In the current climate, none of us can take for granted the fantastic opportunities that we have on our doorstep and anything that we can do to sustain this has to be a good thing.”

With this as our mantra, the group teamed up with the Peak District National Park Authority’s ‘Peak Parks Conservation Volunteers’ (PPCV) and arranged a working party.

Shovels and spades

All arrangements in place, packed lunches prepared, wellies polished, the sun shone one Saturday morning in mid-May when around a dozen members of the club met with Dave Camp and his colleague Carol from PPCV at Clough House Car Park, Wildboarclough.

Dave delivered the induction along with a few housekeeping procedures, including instruction on the correct end of a shovel to hold, for those of us who needed it (you know who you are!). Tools were duly despatched, shovels, spades, pickaxes, goggles, etc. and off we set, up what we affectionately call ‘Cumberland Cottage’.

Anyone who rides in the Peaks will likely have ridden up or down ‘Cumberland’ and will, no doubt, have noticed, certainly on wet days, the amount of water that flows down the lane, as opposed to through the land drains. At certain times of the year, it could be rightly compared to riding up a waterfall. This may not sound a problem, but all of this water does untold damage to the lane and over time, erodes the surface covering.

Our task for the day, therefore, was to re-instate as many of the existing land drains as we could find. We set about, clearing channels, embedding new stone to provide additional support and even discovered a few redundant drains and disused culverts, which we were able to put back into operation. There was even a prize for the most innovative and artistic design which went to Rich Pointon’s team for their inspired creation of a spa. (This may even prompt an annual well dressing festival).

By the end of the day, we are happy to report that the water on Cumberland now flows freely and on our subsequent rides we’ve found the drains still working.

The day’s work finished at around 4 o’clock when we bid adieu to Dave and Carol which left a few of us just enough time to nip in to the local for a well-earned shandy on the way home!

Many thanks to Dave and Carol for arranging the day and we hope to make this a regular event.


The TRF is involved in conservation projects across the country, if you are an authority or landowner who would like our support or would like to join in as a volunteer get in touch with your local group.

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