Celebrating park creator

The late Gerald Haythornthwaite, countryside pioneer. Photo contributed.
The late Gerald Haythornthwaite, countryside pioneer. Photo contributed.

Countryside campaigners are celebrating the centenary of the birth of pioneering conservationist Gerald Haythornthwaite by launching a fundraising appeal in his name.

Gerald Haythornthwaite, the key driving force behind the formation of the Peak District National Park and Sheffield’s green belt, would have been 100 years old this July.

Working alongside his formidable wife Ethel, his famous victories included blocking a 200 mph Grand Prix race track near Dove Dale and stopping a motorway through Longdendale. Gerald was involved with the Campaign to Protect Rural England in the Peak District (today called Friends of the Peak District) for nearly 60 years.

He was honorary secretary of the charity until his death in 1995.

Dame Fiona Reynolds, Director-General of the National Trust, has agreed to be Patron of the Haythornthwaite Appeal.

She remembers working with Gerald Haythornthwaite: “Gerald was a national figure of enormous reputation. He was an absolutely meticulous fighter, and used to say never give up, never say no.

“The need to look after our countryside is still as urgent today, so I am delighted to be asked to be Patron of the Haythornthwaite Appeal.

“Friends of the Peak District has a fine record of achievement and could do so much more with your help.”

Gerald Haythornthwaite was born in Bolton in 1912, and moved to Sheffield in 1935.

He helped raise money to buy the Longshaw Estate and Winnats Pass for the National Trust.

But he is perhaps most remembered for his work in the earliest days of the National Park movement.

He worked closely with politicians including Harold MacMillan in establishing national parks, and was instrumental in drawing up the boundaries of the UK’s first national park in the Peak District.

He was awarded the CBE for his services to conservation and the National Park movement.

Andy Tickle, Chief Executive of Friends of the Peak District, said: “We are so proud of the legacy that Gerald Haythornthwaite left us.

“We need more Geralds, more people who are passionate about looking after the amazing landscapes of the Peak District today. Please get in touch to find out how you can help.”

To find out more about Friends of the Peak District’s Haythornthwaite Appeal, ring 0114 266 5822 or see www.friendsofthepeak.org.uk.