Welcome to Big Moor. Use it as you will. I hope in time that it will become a quiet place to escape or a reference point for anyone who is interested in learning more about this corner of Derbyshire. Or both!
Around Big Moor
Big Moor is one of the most isolated parts of the Peak District and yet it is less than 10 miles from the centre of Sheffield. It lies on the edge of the Longshaw Estate at just over 1000 feet above sea level.
Open access to much of the land only became available this century as for many years this was a reservoir catchment area. Barbrook reservoir is now disused and, possibly because of this restricted access, this land has become home to over 100 wild red deer as well as birds such as the curlew, buzzard, merlin and snipe.
The inhospitable nature of this land meant than man ignored it for centuries and as a result relics of the last 4000 years are everywhere. There are Bronze Age stone circles, burial mounds and medieval pack-horse trails as well as more recent evidence of lead processing and millstone manufacture.
This area, and several adjacent moors, is now managed on behalf of the Peak Park by the Eastern Moors Partnership which is a joint venture between the RSPB and the National Trust.
The purpose of this site is to try and link together all the various sources of information about Big Moor and the surrounding area. There are many good walking books, climbing manuals and general tourist guides which concentrate quite naturally on the Edges with their spectacular views. My aim is to dig a bit deeper and look at all different aspects of The Moor - its geology, archaeology, history, geography and bio diversity. I am no specialist in any of these subjects but my aim is to give a layman’s view as I see it and provide as many links as possible to the excellent research carried out by specialists in any particular field.
All the photographs on this site have been taken by me. These are free for anyone to use providing this use is solely personal and that no commercial activity is involved.
Creatures of Big Moor
Bigmoor.co.uk is dedicated to 2 men who are as different from each other as the Dark Peak is to the White Peak.
G.H.B. (Bert) Ward was the founder of The Sheffield Clarion Ramblers and a campaigner for walkers rights at a time, in the 1930's, when confrontation with gamekeepers and land owners was a weekly occurrence. He was a steelworker in Sheffield who dedicated his later years to analytical research of ancient rights of way, marker stones and archeological finds. He delighted in recounting tales told to him by the local countrymen - both gamekeeper and poacher!
Paddy Monkhouse was Northern Editor of The Manchester Guardian. He came from the Cheshire foothills of the Peak and was brought up in a hill-walking family and was always keen to understand why things were how they were. His classical education gave him the great gift of being able to express his love and understanding of the countryside in his own individual way. He was no less a radical than Bert Ward in his desire for open access, but adopted a more pragmatic approach to achieving this goal.
Chesterfield Derbyshire March 2011.