Protecting our Moorland

High Sheriff of Greater Manchester – Area Visit

On Friday 1st October 2021 the High Sheriff of Greater Manchester, Diane Hawkins, visited the area to look at the work being done to reduce the damage being caused by illegal off-road vehicles to the moorland surrounding Rochdale.

Over the last five years a central theme of Spotland & Falinge Ward and Norden Ward area meetings has been the adverse effect of illegal off-road vehicles (motorbikes, 4X4’s, quads, etc.) on residents, the environment, upland farming and leisure activities (horse riding, rambling, running, etc.). During that time Greater Manchester Police and United Utilities have worked together to try and diminish these illegal activities, primarily to reduce pollutants in the water run-off going into our local reservoirs and to lessen the possibility of a major incident should a vehicle full of fuel and oil end up in a reservoir.

More recently global warming and damage to peat, which is a natural carbon store, has come to the forefront and we can all see for ourselves the adverse effect unlawful off-roading is having on the natural environment, which includes protected species of ground nesting birds. Upland farming is suffering with livestock being stressed or killed, sheep aborting lambs and grazing being destroyed. Even the local windfarm on Scout Moor and the nearby Marshalls Quarry have been affected with damage to service tracks and regularly having to take action to neutralise spilled oil and petrol, removing petrol cans, broken glass and litter. And there’s always the risk, during those warm summer days when we like to get out into the open, of a moorland fire being started by a vehicle’s hot exhaust or a broken bottle acting like a magnifying glass – let’s not forget the recent moorland fires on Saddleworth Moor and Winter Hill.

As a result a group of like-minded volunteers decided to step up and work with the various organisations to try and do something positive to help, and on Friday Mrs Hawkins was able to see first-hand the collaboration between the various organisations that have pulled together to protect our moorland.

It’s quite staggering to see the number of organisations involved and we are grateful for the help and support from the High Sheriff, the Greater Manchester Lieutenancy Office of the Duchy of Lancaster, the Greater Manchester High Sheriffs Police Trust, the Lord of the Manor of Rochdale, Greater Manchester Police, Lancashire Police, United Utilities, Rossendale & Pendle Mountain Rescue Team, Rochdale and Rossendale MP’s Sir Tony Lloyd and Jake Berry, Rochdale Council & the Rochdale Ward Councillors and the local Area Forum representatives, the West Pennines Commoners Association, Rochdale and Bury Bridleways Association, BayWa R.E, Marshalls Quarry, Rochdale Ramblers, Peak and Northern Footpaths Society, National Trail Officers for Natural England, Prickshaw & Broadley Fold Neighbourhood Watch, Healey Dell Heritage Centre & Tea Rooms and BBC Northwest News.

Thanks go to David Pheasey for the photographs, which record a memorable day where many people representing their various organisations came together to show it’s possible to work together to achieve a shared objective – Our thanks go to all involved!

Please click on any image to scroll through the photos.



Our AGM meeting will be online via Zoom on Wednesday 17th November 2021, from 19:00 to 19:40 and a link to the meeting will be provided by email on the day of the meeting to anyone who wishes to participate.

Due to the public health emergency this year’s AGM will consist of the minimum statutory business and all voting will be by proxy. We will contact members who have voting rights and invite them to instruct the Chair to cast their vote. Or, if they wish they can leave the choice to the Chair.

Please see the attached meeting agenda and reports pack. You can get more details or make any comments by emailing:

2021 – RMNF AGM – Agenda and Reports Pack

Protecting the moors – Update

Project Update

Following on from our update in May (see: we are pleased to report that whilst progress has been slow, due to the impact of Covid-19 and a shortage of raw materials, the work completed thus far has resulted in a significant reduction in the number of illegal off-road incidents reported to the Police. The general feedback from members of the public, farmers, residents and user-groups has been very positive too. In certain locations you can already see damaged flora is recovering.

The expected completion date of the project is now September when two more gates and a horse friendly vehicle barrier should be installed, subject to availability of materials.

From the outset of this project, we knew we weren’t going to be able to stop all unauthorised motorised vehicles accessing the moorland, but through a process of education (see the BBC North West news item: and reducing the number of opportunities to get motorised vehicles on to the moors, we seem to be left with a hard core of illegal off-roaders who simply don’t care about the adverse effect they are having on people, the environment and upland farming.

Fortunately, our project is providing support to Greater Manchester and Lancashire Police enforcement activities and generally speaking, the once silent majority of the public are now vocal in letting offenders know they are not welcome.

We have also seen a great pulling together of the community with the public, Police, local MP’s & Councillors, landowners, businesses, Rochdale Ramblers, Rossendale & Pendle Mountain Rescue Team, Peak and Northern Footpaths Society, National Trail Officers for Natural England, community groups such as Prickshaw & Broadley Fold Neighbourhood Watch and the equestrian community through the Rochdale & Bury Bridleway Association, all contributing to the project by providing information and taking positive action to reduce these illegal off-road activities.

Lancashire Police have introduced a “Rural Task Force”, which is operating to great effect. The facilities management company for Scout Moor Wind Farm has had approval from their client to install two large gates on turbine service tracks. These gates will help enforcement activities by reducing the number of access and egress points to the moors for motorised vehicles. Marshalls Quarry in Edenfield has taken a number of actions to reduce moorland access and egress points for motorised vehicles. United Utilities are taking action to repair walls, fences, styles and gates that have been damaged to facilitate access to the moors via their land. The Lord of the Manor of Rochdale has given permission and provided financial support to inhibit illegal access to their land. Local Members of Parliament are helping RMNF approach companies in the rural area to get involved. Local Councillors and the Rights of Way Officers in Rochdale, Whitworth and Rossendale are looking at the possibility of introducing Public Space Protection Orders (PSPO) to further protect our moorland by making penalties for these illegal activities commensurate with the crime.

Looking to the future RMNF is actively working with other organisations to try and implement similar “off-road mitigation measures” in the area of Lancashire that borders with the RMNF neighbourhood area.

Protecting the moors around Rochdale

Off-road mitigation measures

Now is perhaps a good time to let people know our forum is involved in a project to introduce off-road mitigation measures to tackle crime and antisocial behaviour in the area with particular regard to off-road bikes, quads and 4x4s.
Work started on the first phase of the project on Tuesday 27th April 2021 to replace 1km of damaged fencing along part of Edenfield Road, near to Owd Betts in Norden. There are a number of rights of way to consider, one of which is a bridleway. The plan is to replace the fence and place new gates, styles and vehicle barriers at various points to restrict unauthorised vehicle access onto the moor.
In Rochdale we are fortunate to have guidance and advice from Rochdale Council’s Public Rights of Way Officer, who is acting as the project lead. Together we have raised over £13,000 and financial contributions have come from RMNF, Rochdale Ward and Township Funds, the Lord of the Manor of Rochdale, Rochdale and Bury Bridleways Association, the Greater Manchester Lieutenancy Office of the Duchy of Lancaster and the Greater Manchester High Sheriffs Police Trust.

Why are we doing this

Evidence shows that large numbers of off-road vehicles regularly travel from outside the Rochdale area, from as far away as Merseyside, Cheshire, Derbyshire and beyond, in order to illegally ride or drive on the moors. So far the furthest travelled and apprehended has been from Edinburgh! These off-road vehicles, particularly motorbikes, quads and 4x4s are causing significant environmental damage to the surrounding moorland peat (a natural carbon store), damaging wildlife (especially ground nesting birds) and putting upland farming at risk by distressing grazing cattle and sheep – large areas of the moorland in our area is Common Land where Commoners exercise their “Rights of Common” to graze sheep and cattle. Significant damage is being caused to footpaths and bridleways and sadly there are reports of legitimate users of these facilities (farmers, equestrians, ramblers and cyclists, etc.) being put at risk and threatened with physical violence.
  • Watch the BBC North West Tonight news item broadcast on Wednesday 31st March 2021 by clicking HERE.
  • Read a Rossendale Free Press article by clicking HERE.
  • Rossendale & Pendle Mountain Rescue Team reported, “The moors have become horrendously devastated by illegal trials bikers ripping through the hillside creating vast areas of deep rutted land. At daytime it’s bad enough but in the pitch of night it proved nearly impossible to navigate but thanks to specialist kit and thorough training (but some 4 hours later), the casualty was off the hill and safely going to hospital for further treatment.” Read more HERE.

What the Police are doing

Operation Dragster is the Greater Manchester Police (GMP) response to these illegal off-road activities and last year, at the start of the first lockdown, the Police expanded Operation Dragster due to increased complaints. As a consequence of Operation Dragster, our forum along with a large number of residents and their ward councillors became actively involved in regular Zoom meetings with our Neighbourhood Beat Officers to discuss these issues and to see what could be done to improve the situation. At these meetings a number of opportunities were identified to reduce unauthorised motor vehicle access to the moors and our GMP Neighbourhood Beat Officers have been outstanding in liaising with the community and helping to tackle these issues. Together we have built positive working relationships with Lancashire Police, the GMP Off Road Bike Team, local Councillors, the Rights of Way Officers in Rochdale and Rossendale Council, local landowners – in particular United Utilities and the agent for the Lord of the Manor of Rochdale, the West Pennines Commoners Association, the Rochdale Ramblers, Rossendale & Pendle Mountain Rescue Team, community groups such as Prickshaw & Broadley Fold Neighbourhood Watch and the equestrian community through the Rochdale & Bury Bridleway Association.
GMP advise enforcement activity will continue throughout this year.

Next steps

All of the organisations involved in this project have been consulted and are looking at what learnings they can take to do something similar in the surrounding area. Lancashire Police have recently introduce “Rossendale’s Rural Task Force” and we have asked local Members of Parliament, The Right Honourable Jake Berry, Tony Lloyd and Chris Clarkson to approach wind farm companies in the area to get involved.

What you can do

We hope you all agree the moors in our area should be a safe place for locals and visitors to enjoy, especially given how the current pandemic has shown our green spaces to be incredibly beneficial to the health and wellbeing of so many legitimate users.
We still need people to report illegal off-road vehicles, please contact the Police on 101, or use the ‘live chat’ facility on the Greater Manchester Police website.

CPRE Update – January 2021

Dear Rooley Moor Neighbourhood Forum

Even in dark times such as these, the countryside can lift our spirits.

While not all of us live with local access to the countryside, green space or gardens, there are many ways we can all try to connect with nature from home.

Even taking just a few minutes to appreciate nature’s small joys, wherever you can find them, can lift your spirits at times like these.

We’d love to know how you’re planning to stay connected with nature close to home. Let us know on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram, or just reply to this email.

Read on for all the latest updates from us at CPRE, and how you can connect with the night sky from home.

Let’s count the stars

A dark starry sky is one of the most magical sights imaginable. But light pollution means that many of us can’t see the stars.

Our annual Star Count is back, and we’d like you to help us map of the nation’s view of the night sky – this year, from home.
It’s easy to be a part of Star Count: just look to the heavens between 6-14 February and count the number of stars you see in the constellation of Orion.

It’s a safe, outside activity to do as a family or household, from your home, garden, balcony or even bedroom window, and everyone can take part.

As we’re all asked to stay at home, please don’t travel to do a Star Count.
Sign up below to register your interest.

Campaign win on housing algorithm

After our pressure, the government’s housing algorithm, which could have caused needless loss of green space, has been revised to focus building more in cities and on previously-built-on land.

Building more affordable homes on so-called ‘brownfield’ land is something we‘ve long called for and is a win-win scenario for people and nature.

This is a victory for the countryside and a democratic planning system – and one that you have been part of. Thank you!
But we’re clear that the problems with the planning proposals run much deeper than the housing algorithm. We need a complete reboot to put people and nature at the heart of a new planning system.

Looking after winter wildlife

There might not be so many animals out and about to spot at this time of year but with little effort you can make it an easier season for them.

From the food birds most crave during the winter, to easy ways to make your garden more wildlife-friendly, here are our top tips for helping wildlife through the winter

The Countryside Voices podcast episode 5: What even is planning, anyway?

This time, we’re talking about something that affects us all: the planning system.

What is it, and why does it matter? We take a look at the power that the planning process gives us citizens to shape our local area – and the serious threat posed by the government’s damaging proposals for the planning system.

You’ll hear from Hugh Ellis, director of policy at the Town and Country Planning Association, Madeleine Gohin, planning officer at CPRE, and Naomi Luhde-Thompson, chief planner at Friends of the Earth.

Listen at the link below, or subscribe wherever you listen to podcasts.

Breaking down barriers to the great outdoors

Before this summer, Aisha Nazir Iqbal was far from an experienced hiker.

But now the optician and mum-of-three is a co-founder of the Manchester Nomads, a 15-strong Muslim women’s walking group.

Discover her story of helping her community discover the countryside, and how time spent outdoors has helped her to manage stress and practice mindfulness.

As always, thanks for everything you do to support the countryside, and stay safe.

Best wishes,

Calum McGregor
Digital Engagement Officer

British Association For Local History

As part of our digital engagement, we are running a series of online skills workshops and webinars throughout 2021.

This year, we (BALH) are trialling a new initiative to offer benefit to your society’s members through a discount scheme for BALH events.

Initially this benefit will be in the form of a discount on selected online webinars, workshops and talks, but we will be reviewing its use over the course of the year.

Our aim is for this discount to be an additional attraction to members of your society; in turn providing extra value for your BALH society membership.

To take advantage of this discount offer, your members will be asked to enter your society’s unique code when booking designated events via our website.

Your unique code for Lancashire Local History Federation : F-23712J

We do hope you find this initiative of use in our new programme of events see below.

The first of these events are now open for booking. The majority are free for BALH members but open to non-members for a small fee. We are also trialling a new initiative to offer a discount for BALH Society Members to pass on to their membership. Each society has been issued with a discount code for this purpose.

BALH Digital Webinar : Creating your local history website

Wednesday 13th January 2021 6:00pm

A one-hour webinar with BALH’s Web Manager and professional web developer Paul Carter.

Paul will be introducing the basic concepts of setting up a local history website, whether that is for an individual research project or a local history society. The webinar will cover the key components of a website and demystify some of the technical jargon before looking at how to plan your website content and putting it all into action.

There will be plenty of time for Q+A as well as one of Paul’s fact sheets to save you having to make lots of notes!

Details and booking

BALH Digital Workshop : How to get your local history research out there!

Saturday 13th February 2021 10:00am

Public Engagement and Collaborative Working (a student special) with Claire Kennan (BALH)

This workshop will offer practical guidance on how academic research can be communicated to wider audiences, the opportunities that are available for collaborative and partnership working and how your research can have an impact in the wider world. In particular, it will focus on the specific support and opportunities offered by BALH ranging from writing blog posts to producing podcasts, working with teachers, local history societies, museums and much more.

Please note that this session is only available to students registered on a recognised Masters or PhD course of study at an HEI. ECRs who are within 5 years of completing their PhD are also welcome to attend.

Details and booking

BALH Digital Webinar : How to grow your local history social media presence

Wednesday 10th March 2021 6:00pm

A one-hour webinar with BALH’s Social Media Fellow, Daniella Gonzalez.

Daniella will provide an introduction to the various social media platforms available and how local history societies can best use them to promote their work and engage with the wider history community.

Details and booking

We will keep you updated with details of future events or check our website .


Catley Carols

Message from the Chair

This has been a challenging year for an awful lot of people and our thoughts are with those who are having an exceptionally difficult time. Hopefully, with vaccination, there is light at the end of the tunnel.

Christmas will be very different for everyone this time around with restrictions on family and social gatherings but I hope that you will be able to have as good a time as possible given the circumstances.

Just a reminder that we are holding our virtual carol concert tonight at 6.30 pm via Zoom.

To join in Rooley Moor Neighbourhood Forum is inviting you to a scheduled Zoom meeting.

Topic: Catley Carols

Time: Dec 23, 2020 06:30 PM London

Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 766 0291 2723

Passcode: 2g3D3k

Here’s wishing everyone a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Andy Meek

Chair RMNF

Catley Carols – Wed 23 Dec 20

Catley Carols – Wednesday 23rd December 2020 – 6:30 pm via Zoom

You are welcome to join us on Wednesday 23rd December 2020 at 6:30 pm. We’ll only have 40 minutes so the idea is for the RMNF chair to make the opining comments, we’ll play a couple of carols, the Revd’s Sue & Morley Morgan and guests will say a few words. Then we can raise a glass together and maybe have a chat before our 40 minutes are up.

Please email: and we’ll email a Zoom link to you on the 23rd December, which you can ignore if you are not able to participate.

  1. Welcome from the RMNF Chair
  2. Reading – Luke 2: 1 – 14 – The Birth Of Jesus
  3. Carol – Once In Royal David’s City
  4. Reading – John 1: 1 – 18 – The Word Became Flesh
  5. Carol – Hark The Herald Angels Sing
  6. Christmas Resolution
  7. Prayer and Blessing
  8. Carol – O Come All Ye Faithful
  9. Raising a glass
  10. Chatter and end