New plan to secure future of moorland] ''-The sheep on the rock was taken near the Fox House on the Hathersage Road - It climbed up to get a drink, by Ian Kinniburgh] ''-The sheep on the rock was taken near the Fox House on the Hathersage Road - It climbed up to get a drink, by Ian Kinniburgh
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PLANS to involve charities in the future management of popular Peak District moorland on the outskirts of Sheffield will be up for debate at a meeting this week.

Sheffield Council officials have drafted a report on Burbage, Houndkirk and Hathersage moors, which cover 56 square kilometres.

The report says they are home to habitats of international importance while providing some of the most popular destinations for outdoor recreation in the national park.

The council owns a large portion of the moors, from Redmires reservoirs in the north to Fox House in the south. It extends east to west between Ringinglow and Stanage Edge.

The area includes Iron Age settlement Carl Wark and Higger Tor.

Its moors are currently managed by contractor Kier but the council is proposing to link with interested conservation, environmental and wildlife groups to look after the area in the future.

David Howarth, who wrote the report, said: “A Sheffield Moors Partnership is considered between the council, national park authority, Sheffield Wildlife Trust, the National Trust, RSPB and Natural England.

“It is difficult to overstate the advantages such a ground-breaking partnership could deliver, not only in securing conservation of the ecology, landscape and cultural heritage of the area but also in extending visitor opportunities.”

The move is being considered after a similar plan by the Peak District over its Eastern Moors estate immediately to the south, which led to the National Trust and RSPB being brought in to manage the estate for the next 15 years.

The National Trust also looks after the Longshaw estate, moorland next to Fox House and Padley Gorge.

A series of consultation workshops about how the council’s moors could be managed in the future were held last July and August, funded by the National Trust and RSPB, which attracted 177 people. There were also 800 comments made.

Those who gave their views called for a long-term vision for the future of the moors, and asked that their wild and open nature should not be compromised, that livestock grazing should be controlled to achieve conservation objectives, and for the rich cultural heritage to be protected.

The proposals will be discussed at a meeting of the South West Community Assembly from 7pm on Thursday at Tapton School.