Investment plan for The Roaches Estate following Staffordshire Wildlife Trust takeover
A CONSERVATION charity is making final preparations for its takeover of one of England's most iconic landscapes.
Staffordshire Wildlife Trust will officially manage The Roaches Estate from May 1 after winning a 125-year lease from the Peak District National Park Authority (PDNPA) in 2011.
The trust has revealed its plans for the 975-acre site, near Leek, which will include carrying out bird population surveys and improvements to the footpaths as well as encouraging community involvement.
It is set to invest more than £100,000 on improvements at the site each year, aimed at bringing benefits for the beauty spot's wildlife and its 100,000-plus visitors.
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The Roaches will be the charity's 25th nature reserve around the country.
Helen Dale, head of reserves at Staffordshire Wildlife Trust, said: "This is a really high-profile, well-visited, iconic Staffordshire landscape and we feel extremely privileged that we will become part of this.
"We have a number of local nature reserves in the county and we felt that taking over The Roaches was the next appropriate step for us.
"We will be able to fully engage with the public and make them part of this project.
"People will get the opportunity to have their say on what they want to see and we will try our best to cater for them. It is a long-running process.
"As part of our plan, we will be carrying out work on the footpaths as they have become quite worn with the number of visitors over the years.
"We will also draw up a public management plan and a grazing management plan.
"We hope that the lovers of The Roaches will get involved and help us to care for this special place."
Warden Jeff Sim will take up his new role at the Staffordshire Moorlands attraction in May.
The 40-year-old, who currently oversees the running of the trust's Highgate Common reserve, near Wolverhampton, said: "I am from Lichfield and I love The Roaches.
"I have been quite a few times, I love to walk around it.
"It really is a beautiful place and a fantastic site for wildlife.
"The Roaches is a different type of habitat, so I am anxious to get started. I will be a visible presence on the site and will be available to answer any questions from visitors."
Liz Peck, communications officer at Staffordshire Wildlife Trust, added: "Our very first priority is to really get to know the Roaches and meet the people who use and visit it.
"It is well known as a place for recreation, but perhaps less well known as a place for wildlife, so we hope that by carrying out regular bird population surveys we can create more opportunities for wildlife."
Anyone wishing to become a member of the trust should call 01889 880100 or visit www.staffs-wildlife.org.uk/page/membership.