Ongoing work has flattened portions of an ancient Peak byway to make it passable for 4x4s who may shortly be banned from the route anyway.
Have a look at the picture on the left. If you're a Peak District walker, climber or mountain biker, there's a good chance you won't recognise it - it is, believe or not, Stanage Causeway, until recently an atmosphmeric, ancient, rocky by-way that's had a proper hammering from 4x4s.
And this, depressingly, is Derbyshire Country Council's solution to the problem of trail erosion brought on apparently by the threat of legal action from 'a member of the public'. It gets worse too, according to John Horscroft of local group Ride Sheffield, the next stage will be to rebuild the revetments that hold the route in place contructing a totally smooth road that's utterly out of character with the place and utterly featureless and without interest for walkers, runners, bikers and, presumably, 4x4 drivers, who have caused the erosion leading to this mess in the first place.
It could even end up with a smooth track right to the top of Stanage itself, which would be desperately wrong. And finally, to add insult to injury, the completely unsympathetic process is apparently going to cost around £250,000 of public money. Just insane.
According to Ride Sheffield, the nub of the problem is that the Peak District National Park Authority was planning a sympathetic restoration of the Causeway, but had to hand it over to Derbyshire County Council due to budgetary contraints. And this is the result and all so a relatively small number of 4x4 drivers can get their jollies in the midst of a National Park.
Ironically, given that the work is ostensibly intended to make the route passable for 4x4s, who've destroyed it in the first place, the Peak District National Park is actively considering the option of banning motorised vehicles from the track. You really couldn't make it up.
What can you do? You can let Derbyshire County Council know that you're concerned over what's happening at Stanage using this online form - the more people make their views known, the more likely it is that DCC will reassess the work at Stanage.
You can find Ride Sheffield on Facebook and also at www.ridesheffield.org.uk.