On the trail of Derbyshire’s Dick Turpin

Mountain-bikers, horse-riders and walkers joined the launch event on the Black Harry trails. Photo contributed.
Mountain-bikers, horse-riders and walkers joined the launch event on the Black Harry trails. Photo contributed.
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A new network of trails has been launched for horse-riders, mountain-bikers and walkers, where once the notorious highwayman Black Harry preyed on pack-horse trains.

The Black Harry Trails cross the moors between Great Longstone and Stoney Middleton, and members of the surrounding communities joined in the launch event with other supporters to view the work carried out under the project. There was also the opportunity to sample the special ‘Black Harry’ beer produced by the local Thornbridge Brewery to help promote the trails.

The project has upgraded and linked existing bridleways, with better surfacing, signs and environmental improvements. Trail-bikers and 4x4s are being deterred from certain sections where motorised users have no legal rights. An additional 4km has been created for horse riding and mountain biking through the agreement of landowners.

Voluntary help was vital to its success, with around 100 days’ work contributed by Peak Park Conservation Volunteers working with the Peak District Vehicle User Group, Peak Horse Power and Rocking the BOAT alongside contractors.

The project, carried out by the Peak District National Park Authority in partnership with Derbyshire County Council, residents, user-groups, local organisations and businesses, was kick-started with a £13,000 grant from the Derbyshire Aggregates Levy Grant Scheme. This compensated local communities for the impact of quarrying, but closed in March this year under Government cutbacks. Additional funding brought the total expenditure to £20,000.

National park access officer Sue Smith said: “Longstone Edge has long been scarred by quarrying which may have deterred some people in the past, but it offers magnificent panoramic views which we’d like more people to enjoy.

“The Black Harry Trails will mainly be for mountain-bikers, horse-riders and walkers. Motorised vehicles can legitimately use parts of it, but we hope the new signs and barriers will deter them from going where they have no right to be.

“Black Harry is part of our local heritage who is still with us in the names of Black Harry Lane and Black Harry Gate. We thought it was a memorable name for what we hope will be a memorable project.”

For more information visit www.peakdistrict.gov.uk/blackharry