Testimonies

These testimonies were sent to us by people who are concerned about what is happening in Cressbrook Dale. If you would like to share your thoughts about the developments in the Dale and what the Dale means to you, please email us on contactus@savecressbrookdale.com and make it clear that you are happy to be quoted. We are only using first names.

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Hello,

I spent all my young life in Cressbrook, and believe that growing up next to the ancient woodland is part of what has made me a lifelong friend with nature. The dawn chorus that I would hear coming through my bedroom window on a summers morning remains one of the most glorious and memorable sounds of my life.

Mother nature needs spaces which are left alone for her to keep her balance, there are far too few of these places remaining throughout the world.

Thankyou for working to Save Cressbrook Dale, which is undoubtedly one of the most wonderful places on earth.

Nga Mihi

Jonty

New Zealand

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We live near Oxford but come to The Peak District once a year for a week’s walking. We tend to stay in the Litton and Cressbrook area and have been doing so for over 25 years now. We enjoy the area because the scenery is so varied and untouched making for very enjoyable walks.

We understand from the Save Cressbrook Dale representatives that we spoke to whilst on a walk and from now visiting their website that the current developers appear to either not understand or not care about the various rules and planning regulations that they must adhere to. We are in favour of sensible and considerate development where this is properly implemented but individuals or corporations who wish to ride roughshod over appropriate and existing regulations must be stopped and made to follow the processes that everyone else has to comply with.

These processes are in place for a reason – to ensure the continued protection of a beautiful part of the country for the enjoyment of locals and tourists alike. You have our full support and we strongly encourage the Peak District Authorities to continue their formal action to put a stop to the actions of the current developers.

John & Karen

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Dear friends of Cressbrook

I was devastated to hear about the threat to Cressbrook Dale and the actions that have already been taken to disrupt the beauty and tranquillity of this spot. As a recent but regular visitor to Tideswell, the first place I choose to walk is Cressbrook Dale. It is always beautiful, ever changing in the seasons and has the most amazing fauna and wildlife. The views are simply astonishing.

I have written to Sarah Dines and the Peak District National Park.

Best wishes

Jane

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Cressbrook Dale has been part of our family’s life since the 70’s. Its untouched natural beauty has meant it’s a place of tranquillity and healing for us all – a place of refuge from the busy world that surrounds us. Over the last four years, as dementia invaded my mother’s life and thus mine, Cressbrook Dale was my place of peace. It’s where I would come and walk off the path to find a favourite tree to sit beneath, to soak up the sights and sounds of the Dale. Sitting there, under the branches the beech and sycamore, I felt sheltered, nurtured, even as I cried. It’s awful that I feel that I have to put that in the past tense.

The fact that the Stanton Estate (the former owners) did minimal ‘management’ of the land also worked for us - negotiating a bit of mud (this is the Peak District after all) and passing the occasional cow with due respect was never an issue. I would also know that anyone I passed treasured the place as it is.

Now, the healing power of the Dale has been massively diluted by the presence of the new owners –I feel like something that once belonged to all the people has been stolen. The Phoenix Rose group have done this, and it petrifies me. They have come to find peace and they are creating conflict – it’s a project that simply cannot work. Since the group first introduced themselves to the village I, and members of my family, have had nightmares and sleepless nights. Our well-being is being materially damaged by the activities of the new owners. That said, the villagers’ roots stretch back to when the Mill was still open - their strong heart, awesome talents and commitment to see off this threat are simply wonderful and give me total hope that peace will be restored in the Dale.

Our love will win!

Phil

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I am now 81 but since my childhood in Derbyshire I have always enjoyed the beauty and wildlife of the Peak District and especially the limestone dales. I have also always believed that public good should take precedence over private whim and greed and as a consequence spent my working years as a practitioner and teacher of town and country planning.

I am appalled to hear of the actions of a new landowner at Cressbrook Dale in contravention of all regulations. Such actions are both in contempt of the public planning system and destructive of a wonderful area which has been recognised for its aesthetic and ecological importance by designations as an SSSI and National Nature Reserve. I am pleased to hear that the Park Authority has taken some action to arrest these developments and urge continuing enforcement to stop the damage to such an important area of the National Park.

As a keen naturalist (and member of the Derbyshire Wildlife Trust, Sorby Naturalists and Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire Entomological Society) I have made many visits to Cressbrook Dale (the latest on the 24th of this month) to study the scarce plants and insects of the area. Such a valuable environment should in my view be preserved in perpetuity and not be subject to private individuals to exercise personal licence to use and abuse it as they wish.

I urge you to make all effort in combination with the statutory and voluntary wildlife conservation bodies and the caring local communities to put a permanent stop to the destructive actions of the landowners and their supporters (many of whom are in all probability ignorant of the impacts of their actions)

Brian

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I live in Manchester but spend 2-4 days a week walking and cycling in the Derbyshire Dales, which are simply stunning. Yet even this glorious area has its own outstanding jewels. Cressbrook Dale is one of them. Words simply cannot do it justice. You have to experience it.

So, to even contemplate any desecration of this truly remarkable place by new buildings of any kind in the vicinity is, in my opinion, vandalism and should be prevented, especially as such changes are irreversible.

I do not live in the Cressbrook area but feel happy that such quiet places of outstanding beauty still exist in a highly populated country. These places must be cherished and protected.

Jess

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I was astounded to hear about the problems that are occurring in Cressbrook dale and I wholeheartedly agree with the campaign that has been set up . These people cannot get away with spoiling this beautiful area of flora and fauna with their misguided unapproved plans. They need to realise that their money does not talk and they cannot get their own way on this matter. They have made a mess already and most be put a stop to.

My husband and I live about 6 miles away and this is one of our favourite walks. It is so peaceful and beautiful in any season, with the fragrant carpet of wild garlic in the Springtime and wild flowers, birdsong in the air and a sense of calm. It is lovely to wander through the woodland area and see how much water is going to trickle down the shady part of the Dale.

We had a shock when we went last and saw the steps they had put in and the other area that they had started work on.

I wish you every success that Phoenix Rose can be halted now.

Kind Regards

Julia

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Originally from Merseyside, I have lived and worked in Sheffield for 20+ years, and spend a lot of time running and walking in all areas of the Peaks. Cressbrook Dale is a wonderful, quiet and unspoilt place, the valley itself, woodland and wildlife create a unique environment. I was walking there today and am saddened by the plans of the new landowners to make such inconsiderate and poorly thought through changes. What are they thinking?

I’m sure we all agree that eco-friendly lifestyles are important, absolutely, but to destroy and upset an existing, fragile environment in the name of environmentalism is ironic in the extreme.

Good luck with your campaign. Protecting and preserving the Dale is so important.

Tony

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Cressbrook, Litton Frith and the Woodland

I have moved through this landscape since coming to live in the area in the 80s.I came to live in Cressbrook village more recently and discovered that the community is strong, that it is warmer here all year and that the landscape is stunningly beautiful, tranquil and full of wondrous life. I have come to love this place, this landscape, the people I live amongst, and I feel at home here.

Once on our way through the woods, my husband and I were transfixed watching a family of goldcrest feeding at the side of the path. On an early morning run along the woodland track, I startled a deer feeding below the track - it bounded away towards Ravensdale and I heard it splash through the stream in the stillness of the morning. Later that summer two of our daughters brought their families to picnic on the Frith meadow with us.The adults chatted, compared picnics, caught up on news whilst the cousins laughed and joked and ran about. The children mimicked the croak of the ravens and counted butterflies. It was a special time for us all, shared in that very special place.

Now I look with sadness on what is being done to this very special place. A car park has appeared where once there were nettles and meadow vetch providing habitat for rare moths and butterflies. A large tipi has been erected on ground where the turf was dug over to flatten the spot and a wide gravel path constructed to it, another flattened area in a different part of the meadow there is now a small poly tunnel, an eyesore in this beautiful landscape. A scruffy caravan has been parked just inside the gate from the woodland track with a home made Farm Security sign. I don't understand why 'Security' is now necessary on land that was formerly secure for wildlife before it changed ownership.

Caroline

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Many generations of our family have been taught about our local flora and wildlife in Cressbrook Dale, whilst enjoying local walks and we hope that this can continue but this will be damaged if the area is developed in anyway. Cressbrook Dale gave our family and I’m sure many others much needed solace over lockdown, due to it being a peaceful and reflective walking area, so to hear of the possible destructive plans for the natural area is disgraceful. It doesn’t seem logical that anybody would think an area of natural beauty needs to be changed to be made better, when it is already purposeful as an area of beauty; education and peace.

Carole

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Childhood dreams shattered

1972 — 1994

As a very young child I was brought to live in Cressbrook, in a very small village it was hard to make friends there but in time we got to know all of the kids in the village some to this date are still some of my best friends!

Cressbrook Dale has always been to me a magical place where a young child can imagine that they have been sent back in time to the jurassic times with all the ferns and wild garlic, little caves where we made our dens. There isn’t a nook or crannie that I haven’t explored there and I still occasionally go and walk it and it still holds the same magic now as back then.

To hear of these people moving into such a place of beauty and destroying it makes me so angry.

Mark

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Having grown up in Cressbrook during the 50s 60s and 70s I took my granddaughter there a few weeks ago and was amazed how much everything has changed and was saddened to see the state of the footpaths and areas I used to play in.

I support your campaign to save Cressbrook Dale

Paul former Cressbrook Resident

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Dear “save Cressbrook Dale Group”, my husband and I are aware of your campaign against the appalling violation of Cressbrook Dale by that group of investors.

Thank you for what you are doing and we hope you are successful in your entirely peaceful and legal actions. You seem to be doing everything you can to date.

The Dale is close to our hearts for various reasons. I was born in the old farmhouse where my parents supplied milk by horse and cart. We valued the then prolific lilies of the valley through the woods and played all round the “Dom” pond with its fish. I and my brothers and sisters attended the school. We knew all parts of the Dale. We remember a heavy flood when the river swept away all my fathers hens in the field below the mill. We roamed widely. Dad had 11 brothers all of whom farmed in Derbyshire.

Since leaving Derbyshire, we return most years to visit friends and family and very regularly when supporting our elderly parents. We still return when possible and value highly the Derbyshire countryside especially Cressbrook, Monsal Dale, Litton and Millers Dale.

Best wishes for now and every good wish in combatting the awful actions of that misguided group,

Yours sincerely,

Sheila and John

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I was told about what was happening in Cressbrook by a friend and agree with you that the new owner/s are not right for the land there. I am an outsider from Nottingham but have been visiting regularly and mainly frequent the 3 Stags Heads further up the dale, (I also saw your campaign address there) and knowing many locals I understand and respect the knowledge they have and I'm not surprised this is causing problems to the people of the area. I hope this can be stopped as I love the unspoilt timeless nature of the area. I walked down the dale on Saturday and saw the Argus butterfly.

Good luck,

Yvonne

PS I love pagan hippy stuff in the right place but these people sound totally disrespectful.

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Ravensdale, Derbyshire.

In May 1969 I first saw Ravensdale. Magical. Professor Clapham, author of The Complete British Flora of the British Isles, led a small group of students and I was lucky to be there. I learned about the plant communities in Ravensdale. At the top, on the limestone, was grazed species-rich flora, below which as the slopes increased was scrub, and then the woodland with trees, shrubs and herbaceous layers, then with the stream and meadow in the valley bottom. The ecology was ancient and fragile and of national importance.

Stuck in London in 1971, one hot weekend, my wife and I booked into a B&B in Tideswell. In an estate agent’s window in Bakewell we saw a Ravensdale Cottage for sale. We knew that magical valley and we bought it. On a Friday night after work we would drive up from London, in our Beetle, light the fire in the range, and cook supper on the Baby Belling on the back window cill. By 1973 we had a baby so strapped her in the back of our Citroen Dyane, on a Friday night we couldn’t wait to be in Ravensdale. In winter we had chains which we put on the wheels, so we could get up the steep icy lane above the cottages.

Ravensdale is unique and very special– that is the limestone plateau, the woodland, the stream, the meadow, and the lovely cottages. Adjacent valleys and woods and fields in the White Peak are equally precious.

The Peak District National Park, and Natural England must make it their highest priority to protect it.

Martin August 2022

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Thank you for highlighting this dreadful development. Over many years my family has enjoyed the peace and beauty of Cressbrook Dale, particularly in Spring when it is dressed in cowslips and orchids and carpeted in wild garlic. Such a May walk comforted us shortly after my brother died and evokes strong memories for us on each visit, never more so than in spring. It would be devastating if this Peak District jewel were to be spoiled and I welcome your efforts in reversing this abomination. I shall seek the support of our MP.

Martin

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I have just read your story on Facebook and I am heartbroken and shocked at the thought of anyone changing Cressbrook Dale. I live in Bakewell and it means so much to be able to enjoy the Dale with my family. My daughter loves Cressbrook Dale, she absolutely loves nature and particularly enjoys looking at the pretty limestone which is scattered around. She took a piece in to school and did a show and tell about Cressbrook Dale. We especially love the way it changes through the seasons. When the water arrives it is so pretty. There is so much beauty and wildlife and it certainly is a sight to behold. It is somewhere peaceful to think and put problems into perspective and to take in and appreciate where we live and how lucky we are. It’s somewhere for children enjoy, respect and learn. It is even more valuable given the times we are living in. I know that any time I feel that I am struggling, a walk in Cressbrook Dale and my troubles diminish. We need to protect precious, tranquil places like this.

Thank you

Emily

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As long as I can remember, my mum has taken my sister and I down to Cressbrook Dale, whenever we’ve had the chance, to visit and enjoy the valley’s natural beauty. Being in that wonderful, untouched, diverse ecosystem is just incredible. To see the land around it being churned up to make room for a totally unnecessary eye-sore of a car park is just heartbreaking. It reminds me of the song by Joni Mitchell, Big Yellow Taxi, in which the lyrics go: “They paved paradise, put up a parking lot” and “they took all the trees”, which I really hope won’t be the case but even so, the song still has an uncanny resemblance to the whole situation. Anyway, I’ve had so many lovely experiences that I just felt I had to share my feelings and experiences and appreciate the work you’re doing with the website.

Max (age 13)

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As an ex-resident of Cressbrook and as someone with fond memories of the beauty of the area, I was horrified to read about the invasion of the area by what sounds to be an unscrupulous group whose designs seem reckless.

I would like to support your campaign to protect Cressbrook Dale,

Philip

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I had a wonderful visit to Cressbrook dale visiting friends. It is a wonderful place which nourishes the soul and needs protecting.

Elise

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We absolutely love Cressbrook Dale. It is a place that we come out to enjoy the views, the flora, the fauna, the mud, the woodland and the water. It is a pocket of nature at its best among other great examples in the area of nature linking landscape and history and people.

We walk in and around the Dale on a regular basis. The area is all a piece of the whole, of the views, of the changing flora, of the changing waterways, of the people you meet while out, of the adjoining nature reserves.

We come to enjoy the landscape in and around Cressbrook Dale. We love the orchids. We love the hordes of butterflies you get among the nettles in the cow field. We love watching the search and rescue dogs training. We love sharing this landscape with our family and friends.

With kind regards,

Verity

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