Above: a long line of giant boulders now borders the previously open parking areas at Goytsclough.

Forestry England has closed off the popular parking areas in Goytsclough with a line of large boulders. A notice explains that they’ve taken what they say was a difficult decision “due to an ongoing problem with antisocial behaviour and to reduce the resulting water pollution”.

Above: The area was the site of much industrial activity in previous centuries, for loading both stone from the nearby quarry, as well as a powder obtained by grinding down ore used in the manufacture of paint (click either link for info).

It’s still possible to park alongside the boulders, but there’s not room for many cars. Personally I think it’s a great shame as it was an ideal spot for families to stop and perhaps picnic, visit the packhorse bridge, or walk down to the nearby Riverside Path along the banks of the Goyt.

Authoritarian over-reaction

I also feel it’s taking a sledgehammer to crack a walnut-sized problem as it’s not that often that people wild camp in the area. And the vast majority of those that do, understand and obey the rules about disposing of waste.

It’s ironic that a similar reason was used by Stockport Corporation for demolishing Errwood Hall in the mid 1930s; that water from the drains would pollute the reservoir. Despite the fact that it would be another 30 years before Errwood was flooded, and the minuscule amount of water pollution from any human waste would be removed during the purification process.

With the valley attracting increasing numbers of visitors, a far better solution would be to provide public toilets. There used to be some at Goytsclough (the satellite image above is dated 1999). But the only ones left are at Derbyshire Bridge – at the end of the one-way lane exiting the valley to the south.

I’m not sure when the Goytsclough toilets were closed. They were the site of a couple of gruesome murders in 1984 (click for details). But these occurred at least 15 years before the Google satellite image so can’t have been why they were demolished. I’d guess the reason given was the same – anti-social behaviour.

Sharing responsibilities

Three organisations share responsibilities within the valley – the land is owned by United Utilities and managed by both Forestry England and the Peak District National Park. The notice shows that Forestry England are responsible for closing the parking areas. They also recently removed a much-used footway behind Errwood Hall (view this post).

I think it’s a great shame that Peak District National Park can’t put more pressure on the other two authorities to encourage and welcome visitors. And dissuade them  from using what seems to be a very heavy-handed, authoritarian approach towards those of us who love the area.

Post update: There’s been quite a lot of discussion about the closure on the Goyt Valley Facebook Group. Click here to read the thread.