Protecting our Moorland
1st October 2021

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.