Stoke & Staffordshire

Wildlife Trust to manage Peak District Roaches area

The Roaches estate in the Peak District National Park
Image caption The park authority said it had to find ways to make savings in the face of 28.5% budget cuts (roughly about £1.8m) between 2011 and 2015

Staffordshire Wildlife Trust has been chosen to manage part of the Peak District National Park.

The trust has agreed to take on a 125-year lease of the Roaches Estate, near Leek, popular for its climbing areas and protected moorland habitats.

A park authority spokesman said the lease would help it to save money.

The wildlife trust said it was delighted to win and looked forward to working with park users and residents.

"As the county's largest voluntary nature conservation organisation, we have extensive experience of caring for Staffordshire's precious wild places and working to get the best for people and wildlife," a spokesman added.

'Trust's benefits'

"We look forward to working with the Peak Park, local people and visitors, and there will be opportunities for people to share their views and help shape the future of the estate."

The Peak District National Park Authority said it had to make savings of about £1.8m due to 28.5% budget cuts between 2011 and 2015.

The Land Trust and the National Trust also submitted bids to manage 395 hectares (975 acres) of the estate.

Christopher Pennell, chair of the park authority's audit, resources and performance committee, said: "We believe the wildlife trust provides the best future for the Roaches, with the additional resources it brings, to conserve its wildlife, heritage and landscape, ensure open access, increase understanding of its special qualities, and look after its farmland to high conservation standards."

The Roaches Estate has been classified as a site of special scientific interest and is protected by law.

Shooting rights are not included in the lease, which is due to start in 2013.

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