The Britannia Times
A Ranger's ViewPublished on 16th. May 2017
We've been chatting to The Peak District National Park Authority about the upkeep of the trails and wanted to introduce Steve Farren to you, as you may well pass him over the weekend or as you're out and about on your bikes!
One of the main reasons for our move to the lush expanse of the lands surrounding Friden Grange is the fact that the High Peak Trail runs right through our Festival camp! It is a real luxury to have such easy access to a wonderful traffic free network of white roads and we're making the most of this for the sold-out Twilight Ride on Friday evening and the sold-out Islabikes Family Ride on Saturday, before the main event of The Ride on Sunday!
A Labour of Love
For senior trails ranger Steve Farren, work in the Peak District National Park is a labour of love. Steve has helped to care for the National Park for 35 years, since his first role as a conservation volunteer. Today he works alongside trails ranger Dave Watts to maintain the Tissington, Monsal and High Peak trails.
“It’s like a huge DIY job!” laughs Steve. “We’re here to look after the trails for everyone to enjoy. Each year, walls and fences have to be repaired or rebuilt – where possible in the same style - to contain neighbours’ livestock. We also make sure that bridges and embankments are well-maintained."
"We look after ticket machines in our car parks and keep on top of litter on the trails. Some areas are heavily wooded and, for both safety reasons and good forestry practice, we do some forestry work, too.” Along the trails, Steve and Dave are often called upon to share their local knowledge with walkers and cyclists. “A lot of people want to know basic things – how far is it to certain places, where are the toilets, where can they get something to eat?” says Steve. “They also ask about things off the trail - for example many people arrive at Hartington station and would like to visit Hartington village – but wonder where it is. It is actually one-and-a-half miles away as country stations tended to be built away from the villages. “I enjoy meeting our visitors. A lot of people are here for a day but increasingly people are enjoying short breaks in the National Park.
“We have some spectacular countryside and fantastic views - and we’ve worked hard on getting the surfaces up to scratch."
“We’ve seen a big increase in cyclists … the whole cycling culture has really taken off and the introduction of electric bikes has also made a big difference. The opening of the tunnels on the Monsal Trail has also made a big difference, encouraging more people to visit. I love the variety and the accessibility of the Peak District National Park. I’d advise any visitor to take to the trails – we have 34 miles of traffic-free routes, which are perfect for families and easily accessible for people with disabilities.”
A message from the peak district