Article Types News Access & Conservation Team news round up - early spring

Access & Conservation Team news round up - early spring


The BMC have been hard at work presenting the Outdoors For All Manifesto to parliament, kick-starting a new addition to The Climate Project, arranging re-bolting, cleaning up crags and consulting on access across England and Wales. Here are the highlights as we swing into spring.

Senior Policy & Campaigns Manager Cath Flitcroft and BMC ambassador MaryAnn Ochota presented the Outdoors For All Manifesto to parliament on 6 March. Forty-Two leading national governing bodies and environmental organisations joined together for a parliamentary event to celebrate the Outdoors for All manifesto, seeking to extend responsible access to more green and blue spaces. Full story here.

Cath has also been working with SMT on a Sustainable Transport Policy, finalised the BMC Climate and Sustainability Action Plan, overseen filming projects with Mountain Training and held meetings with DEFRA, UK Sport and Sport England. She is currently drafting a BMC Mountain Manifesto for 2024, we’ll keep you posted.

Access & Conservation Officer (Wales) Tom Carrick coordinated a successful crag clean up with BUMS - an excellent acronym for Bangor University Mountaineering Society. This meet was in conjunction with Trash Free Trails and part of their Citizen Science Programme which will contribute to its State of Our Trails Report in 2024. For this, each volunteer also analysed what they collected to provide more information on how single-use pollution impacts the local environment and wildlife. Trash Free Trails are currently looking for groups to join its Citizen Science programme, click here to find out more, and the BMC hopes to collaborate with them on this project on future clean ups too.

Climbing-wise, a working group has been consulting on the bolted fixed gear guidance for South Wales so we look forward to updates on that soon, and this will be voted on in the next area meeting. He has also been coordinating new replacement bolting in Minera Quarry, north east Wales, with local BMC Area Reps. This work will take place soon.

Seagrass off the coast of Wales. Photo: North Wales Wildlife Trust

Tom is also overseeing the latest addition to the BMC’s The Climate Project - seagrass planting with Seagrass Ocean Rescue in South Wales. The UK has lost up to 90% of its seagrass meadows in the past century, a vital source of carbon sequestering, water filtration, sediment stabilisation and coastal erosion reduction. A total of 10 hectares of seagrass were planted this February at seven different sites along the north Wales coastline.

VOLUNTEER: To help out with seagrass planting

Mama raven feeding three chicks in her nest on a cliff

Access & Conservation Officer (Wales) Jon Fullwood has been busy nationally with arrangements around this year’s bird nesting restrictions; most recently with new permanent signage for Ravens Crag, Wallthwaite between 15 Feb and 31 May.

Jon is joining the Stanage & North Lees Forum to increase climber and hill walker representation in this important group. He has also assisted local clubs (Derwent and Oread) with the arrangement of a clean-up at Wildcat Crag, a popular collection of limestone buttresses near Matlock Bath in the Peak District. This location has a turbulent history between climbers and the landowner so the clean-up is much needed and a sign of improving relations. Please keep an eye on the Regional Access Database (RAD) for any updates.

Along with local access legend Les Ainsworth, Jon recently met with the owners of Hoghton Quarry, Lancashire, to negotiate for a resumption of access. Permission to climb has been withdrawn for the last two years and some hurdles still remain, but the BMC will be sending proposals through based on the meeting and there’s reason to hope a way forward can be found.

Jon is looking forward to the Big Depot Climbing Fair event in Leeds this summer, where the BMC have been invited to host a stand highlighting local volunteer work, access issues, and encourage everyone to get involved at a grassroots level.

WATCH: Access Land

Policy & Campaigns Officer (Wales) Eben Muse responded to the consultation around Wales’ Sustainable Farming Scheme for the future of farming in Wales now that the UK has left the EU. Agricultural policy is facing a redesign and on behalf of the BMC, an organisation that bridges conservation and recreation, Eben worked to highlight the importance of public money delivering public goods and of integrating nature and access to it into the new policy and payment system.

He will also be supporting the Residential Outdoor Education (Wales) Bill in the Senedd Cymru (Welsh Parliament). The purpose of the Bill is to enable all pupils to experience residential outdoor education, giving them the best possible start in their relationship with nature and the outdoors. Welsh Ministers will have a duty to take all reasonable steps to ensure a course of residential outdoor education is provided once to all pupils in maintained schools, free of charge.

The Right To Roam campaign Access Land film featuring wild camping climbers has proved very popular and is being widely shown at film and outdoor festivals across the UK, and it won the People’s Choice Award at the London Adventure Film Festival. There is still much work to be done.

Climber at Horseshoe Quarry. Credit: Neil Foster

Senior Land, Property & Access Advisor Dave Turnbull has been arranging online Access Network sessions every month on conservation topics such as re-wilding, and future sessions are planned for 8 April and 6 May, with the US Access Fund as the guest speaker for the first date.

Dave has also been engaging with trustees from the Land & Property Trust and working on BMC owned and managed sites with colleagues Tom and Jon to clarify the BMC’s commitments and responsibilities at the crags that we own.