Aug 13, 2023

National park bosses fear 'irreparable damage' to Derbyshire stone circle

National park bosses fear camping and fire-lighting could do "irreparable damage" to an ancient monument.

Fires have been lit in the centre of the 4,000-year-old Nine Ladies stone circle at Stanton in Peak, Derbyshire, and a tent found nearby.

Anna Badcock, of the Peak District National Park, said staff were "shocked and saddened" at damage to the circle.

Anyone caught camping, using a barbecue or lighting fires at the site on Stanton Moor faces a £100 penalty.

Dog-walker Claire Thompson described the damage as "awful", adding: "It's really old, really sacred and special, so it's a bit unforgiveable, really."

Another walker, Pamela Mealing, said: "It must be a really hard job trying to stop it. I don't suppose there is enough people to monitor it all but it [would be] tragic if anything happened to this area."

David Hughes, a Liberal Democrat member of Derbyshire Dales District Council, said protection orders were in place at a number of locations.

"I've been to Stanton Moor, which was on a solstice night. There seemed to be a lot of people camping and setting fires," he said.

"The levels of reporting and prosecution are low but fires are the main concern... further policing isn't possible so we have to ask other people to be observant and report to the police."

Ms Badcock, team leader for cultural heritage at the national park, said: "We're shocked and saddened that a small minority of visitors have chosen to put this sensitive site at great risk, a place that is cherished by so many in the local community and others who travel from further afield to experience the Bronze Age wonders of the Nine Ladies."

She said camping and fires at such a location could result in irreparable damage "simply for the sake of a few hours' entertainment for a very small number of individuals".

She added: "It's only by good fortune that more extensive damage hasn't been the case, and we'd ask all visitors to care and respect the National Park for others who come to enjoy this special place."

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Derbyshire Dales District Council

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