Roachside Cottage

Part of the living landscape of the Roaches

Peak District National Park - Upper Hulme, Nr Leek ST13 8UB

After 8 days of seeing the fire tenders and water tankers trundling past Roachside, the fire is now out. Around 200 acres of our beautiful North Staffordshire moorland habitat reduced to charcoal and ash. Countless scores of small mammals, millions of insects and grubs destroyed and the moorland predator birds which depend on them displaced.

There will be several day’s work yet for the fire crews; recovering miles of hosepipe, remote pump skids and dismantling the many prefabricated tanks which have been situated strategically for the water tankers to offload into and for the pump units and helicopter to draw out of.

Thousands of man-hours of effort. Countless gallons of diesel fuel, movement of fire crews around three counties to cover the stations of the fire tenders tied up at this one incident.

Hundreds of hours for the Staffordshire Wildlife volunteers who have been intercepting and diverting walkers and would-be sightseers and maintaining the road closures to allow unrestricted access to the emergency vehicles.

All for the sake of a camp fire.

Quite possibly a camp fire lit by two young chaps who called here for water on the Wednesday evening, before the fire was spotted on Thursday morning, and who were warned to not light fires, use barbecues or smoke in the woods or on the moor.

If those two young men would like to come forward and eliminate themselves from the inquiry, I’d be so happy. I really would.

I suspect that they won’t.


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