National Character Area 50

Derbyshire Peak Fringe and Lower - Detailed Statements of Environmental Opportunity

This section expands on the Headline Statements of Environmental Opportunity and provides further detail on each of the Statements of Environmental Opportunity.


SEO 1: Protect and manage the adaptive capacity of this transitional National Character Area, and its geodiversity and biodiversity value. Manage and increase the native broadleaved woodland resource for multiple benefits including biodiversity, atmospheric carbon regulation, soil erosion, controlling water run-off and contributing to coherent habitat networks, while protecting intrinsic landscape character.

For example by:

  • Maintaining and improving the landscape’s permeability for biodiversity migration, in the context of climate change. Improving and increasing the extent of semi-natural habitat, and enhancing linear and ‘stepping stone’ habitats.
  • Maintaining the characteristic mix of grazing pasture, broadleaved woodland, river valley wet pasture, species-rich hay meadows and arable cropping. Seeking to increase the extent of priority habitats within the landscape, such as acidic grassland, wet woodland and flood plain grazing marsh.
  • Protecting permanent grassland from conversion to cereal and arable crops – with consequent impacts on historic field patterns and ancient hedgerows – where this would damage the integrity of priority features within the World Heritage Site, such as industrial archaeology remains.
  • Conserving, restoring and enhancing semi-natural grassland.
  • Surveying and monitoring the extent and condition of veteran trees, protecting these from loss or poor management, and positively managing the landscape for future veteran trees.
  • Seeking to restore historic field patterns, through hedgerow reinstatement and improved maintenance of the drystone wall network. Managing trees alongside fields, in areas where these are characteristic.
  • Managing the broadleaved woodlands of the Derwent Valley and other areas, for biodiversity, landscape, cultural heritage and recreational value. Expanding broadleaved woodland coverage where appropriate, to increase connectivity between designated biodiversity sites.
  • Where appropriate, supporting selective felling to re-establish any important vistas that have become obscured due to the growth of scrub and secondary woodland.
  • Investigating the scope for creating community woodland, particularly in urban fringe areas, as part of improving high-quality, accessible green infrastructure around existing and new developments.
  • Maintaining and enhancing access to, and interpreting, the National Character Area’s (NCA’s) geology and geomorphology. Emphasising the contribution of the geomorphology to the industrial and economic history of the NCA, and explaining how the geology of this NCA relates to that of the Peak District to its west and the Coal Measures to its east.
  • Creating and maintaining appropriate aftercare of – and access to – redundant quarries, wherever the geology is well exposed.
  • Maintaining the suite of designated geological sites covering the whole spatial and temporal range of the NCA’s geology.
  • Controlling run-off through good agricultural and forestry practice.


SEO 2: Protect, manage and plan for change to the area’s distinctive historic environment, including as a framework for sustainable development – also for the contribution that the Derwent Valley Mills World Heritage Site makes to the local economy, for sustainable energy production and for climate change mitigation.

For example by:

  • Managing and conserving the area’s heritage assets as an integral part of its distinctive landscape.
  • Conserving archaeological and other historic features in the landscape with heritage interest, while recognising the potential for undiscovered remains.
  • Maintaining the diversity of geology and traditional buildings that contributes to the NCA, by using, promoting and encouraging locally sourced materials and skills for walling, building repairs and construction.
  • Supporting and assisting the World Heritage Committee in delivering the operative management plan for Derwent Valley Mills. Meeting priorities in support of the site’s Outstanding Universal Value, as is required of the Government by treaty.
  • Developing an educational and interpretation infrastructure to reflect the importance of the environmental characteristics of the area, which were responsible for stimulating early industrial development.
  • Maintaining the integrity and architecture of the mills and other structures recognised by the World Heritage Site designation.
  • Ensuring that development and land use have full regard for the setting and integrity of the priority features of the World Heritage Site.
  • Examining the potential for hydroelectricity generation within the River Derwent in such a way as to maintain the historic interest and value of the World Heritage Site infrastructure, and to provide it with ongoing economic and environmental value.
  • Managing and maintaining the buildings and infrastructure of the World Heritage Site, including the Cromford Canal, to maximise its value and regulate its influence on wetland and aquatic habitats.
  • Considering the sympathetic conversion of redundant industrial and farm buildings – especially those within the World Heritage Site – to create alternative uses.


SEO 3: Manage the National Character Area’s recreational assets for multi-functional and accessible opportunities for outdoor enjoyment, sustainably serving local and sub-regional demand, and thus helping to manage wider visitor pressures on sensitive areas of the Peak District National Park.

For example by:

  • Maintaining the multi-functional role of Carsington Water as a centre for watersports, outdoor enjoyment and active pursuits.
  • Promoting non-intrusive access to Ogston Reservoir for ornithologists and wildlife enthusiasts, to highlight the reservoir’s – and the wider NCA’s – importance for biodiversity.
  • Promoting the recreational uses of the rivers, including kayaking, angling, photography and painting.
  • Promoting and maintaining sustainable climbing and bouldering.
  • Seeking opportunities to create new – or improve or extend existing – cycle routes, to promote cycling as a recreational pursuit, to improve people’s health and wellbeing, and to provide a form of sustainable transport.
  • Supporting increased sustainable access to sites providing multiple recreational opportunities close to urban populations, such as Linacre Reservoirs, west of Chesterfield.
  • Managing the recreational, cultural and educational value of the World Heritage Site features. Maximising these public benefits, while ensuring that local environmental capacity is not exceeded and that there is no impact on the site’s outstanding universal value.
  • Highlighting the NCA’s links to the adjacent Peak District National Park, to draw visitors from it. This has benefits for the local economy and will reduce pressure on the National Park.
  • Managing visitor use to prevent soil erosion where this becomes a problem.
  • Promoting the recreational use of rivers, as long as this is compatible with their high biodiversity value.


SEO 4: Protect and enhance the rivers Derwent, Amber and Ecclesbourne (and their flood plains) – as well as the National Character Area’s reservoirs and more minor watercourses – for their role in providing a water supply and regulating water flow, and for their biodiversity, landscape and recreational value.

For example by:

  • Working within the framework of the World Heritage Site management plan to conserve the form and function of the watercourses. Restoring and expanding aquatic, riparian and other flood plain habitats, to enhance the ecosystem services provided by the catchment.
  • Supporting farmers and industry to reduce point-source and diffuse pollution, and to provide buffer strips to watercourses.
  • Working with authorities and land managers upstream to regulate the water flowing from the adjacent Peak District National Park.
  • Protecting watercourses from pollution from transport routes (such as road and rail). Building green infrastructure into the flood plain.
  • Maintaining the original, compensatory roles of Carsington Water and Ogston Reservoir in times of low flow in the NCA’s rivers.
  • Maintaining the historic weirs for their geomorphological function, as well as for the industrial history they evidence.
  • Maintaining and enhancing the biologically diverse flora and fauna of the reservoirs and watercourses, by protecting and enhancing the water quality.
  • Considering the redevelopment of redundant reservoirs as sites of biological importance or as recreational facilities.

Additional opportunity 1

Additional opportunity 1: Plan for sensitively designed and sited infrastructure that is related to the utility, minerals, transport and telecommunications sectors in this National Character Area. This can make a positive contribution to both local character and the wider setting of the Peak District National Park.

For example by:

  • Developing a local land use policy that recognises the threats and pressures on the Peak District National Park from development beyond its boundary.
  • Ensuring that conspicuous infrastructure development that threatens the distinctive character and setting of the World Heritage Site is only permitted where there is a demonstrated need for it, and where there are no reasonable alternatives – to justify the harm to such significant environmental and historic assets. Any harm should be mitigated to the fullest possible extent.
  • Putting in place sustainable transport plans that help to manage visitor pressure in the area.
  • Providing sustainable transport and access, especially in rural areas, for the benefit of both local residents and visitors.
  • Maintaining the grazing flood plains of the Derwent by protecting them from inappropriate development.
  • Developing and enhancing green infrastructure to mitigate visual intrusion from infrastructure related to the utility, minerals, transport and telecommunications sectors, and to maintain and enhance local character.