The third and final round of Dark Peak Nature Improvement Area (NIA) baseline visitor surveys took place at the end of May. With the help of 15 volunteers, 195 questionnaires were completed by visitors at six key access points across the Sheffield moors.

The surveys allow us to collect information on who is visiting green spaces and why; what benefits people gain from their visits, what they think of the natural environment they are visiting and where they have travelled from.

Many thanks to the 58 individual volunteers from the British Mountaineering Council (BMC), Eastern Moors Partnership, National Trust, Peak District National Park Rangers, RSPB, Sheffield City Council’s Trees and Woodland Team, Sheffield Wildlife Trust, University of Sheffield and Moors for the Future that have helped us complete a total of 626 visitor surveys for the Dark Peak NIA in three campaigns between August 2012 and May 2013.  

The information will be used by the Dark Peak NIA to gauge visitor attitudes and awareness of green spaces, biodiversity and related conservation activities and how these change between 2012 and 2015 when the surveys will be repeated.

What is the Dark Peak NIA?
The Dark Peak NIA includes nine partners: the RSPB, National Trust, Peak District National Park Authority, United Utilities, British Mountaineering Council, Sheffield City Council, Sheffield Wildlife Trust, Moors for the Future Partnership and Natural England.

The Nature Improvement Areas (NIAs) Programme with funding of £7.5 million has been established, as announced by Defra in the Natural Environment White Paper (2011). NIAs are large, discrete areas that will deliver a step change in nature conservation, where a local partnership has a shared vision for their natural environment.

With the support of Natural England, Environment Agency and the Forestry Commission, the partnership will plan and deliver significant improvements for wildlife and people through the sustainable use of natural resources, restoring and creating wildlife habitats, connecting local sites and joining up local action.