Julie Gough, Member
This article is from Signpost 61, Autumn 2019
Hayfield has always been a friendly and welcoming village but now it’s official! The village has just been accredited Walkers Are Welcome status by the national initiative which was set up to promote walking in areas with something different to offer. The aim is to promote Hayfield as 'walker-friendly', to maintain local footpaths, to encourage local residents to walk more and to benefit local businesses by attracting tourism. They hope also to encourage walkers to use public transport where possible, and to park considerately in the village.
The group has already received financial support from Hayfield Parish Council, the Hayfield Kinder Trespass Group and the Alpkit Foundation. There are plans to work with local Rangers, the Peak & Northern Footpaths Society, local walking groups, and particularly the very active Sustainable Hayfield group, to help promote the Walkers Are Welcome initiative.
Hayfield has an active and friendly community, with events throughout the year and facilities to accommodate walkers: a thriving cricket club in the centre of the village, regular fell races, May Queen celebrations, Wells Dressings, Apple Day and the Sheepdog Trials. Add the six pubs, three cafes, an Italian restaurant, a campsite (with glamping pods!), an art gallery and a photographic / interior design shop, there’s plenty to entertain the village’s many visitors who are looking for more than ‘just’ a walk. The village has a population of around 2,700 and 90% of the parish of Hayfield is within the boundaries of the Peak District National Park, although the village centre itself isn't.
Hayfielders are proud of the village’s long history of association with access to the countryside. In 1930, for example, 12,000 day-trippers from Manchester and Salford visited the village during the Easter Weekend, but found that they were extremely limited in where they could walk. This experience was one of the contributing factors that led to the Hayfield Kinder Mass Trespass in 1932 - a coordinated protest involving three groups of walkers who approached Kinder Scout from different directions at the same time. This act of civil disobedience played a significant role in securing access rights to the moorlands, mountains and countryside of the UK. And arguably led to the passage of the National Parks legislation in 1949; the Pennine Way and other long-distance footpaths; and the rights of walkers to be protected by the CROW Act of 2000.
Hayfield’s notable history, its stunning Peak District surroundings and vibrant community, its accessibility from nearby conurbations, and the fact that it is still one of the main routes onto the Kinder massif has established it as a hugely popular destination for walkers from all over the world.
But apart from anything else, and all these dry facts … Hayfield is a beautiful village, nestled amongst the best scenery the Peak District has to offer. It’s also a great, fun place to live and visit!
This article is part of a series of Parish Notes which will be published both on the website and in future editions of the newsletter. Any readers who would like to contribute are encouraged to contact Mel Bale at firstname.lastname@example.org
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