Improvements to one of the most popular tourist spots in Staffordshire Moorlands have been proposed.
A development request has been submitted to the Peak District National Park Authority for the creation of stairs and the improvement of the cladding of a busy right-of-way, as well as the installation of new access furniture to Thors Cave located near by Wetton.
The request was made by the administrators of Devonshire Maintenance.
A supporting statement from Charlotte Leech, deputy estate manager at Chatsworth, said: “The proposed work at Thor’s Cave is aimed at improving public access to a popular site. Thor’s Cave has always been well visited, but in 2020 and 2021 the number of visitors and the associated pressures increased rapidly.
“One of the main access routes is a concession trail from the village of Wetton, as shown on the maps provided in the app. This is a licensed right of way granted by the Trustees of the Devonshire Maintenance Fund. The condition of this path has deteriorated leading visitors to deviate from the path and expand areas of erosion.
“Visitors also want to access the head of Thor’s Cave which has limited formal access and visitors do not stay on the designated route. Access is currently steep and there is a large scar from erosion caused by visitors.
Part of this area is designated SSSI and therefore requires improved people management to reduce erosion. This development request will be supported by a request to extend public access to the top of the cave of Thor to open an access site.
“I have been approached by the Peak District National Park Ranger Service to discuss how best to deal with the human pressures in this area. The planning app is supported by Rose Clarke, the Zone Ranger.
“If successful, the proposed work will result in an FIPL (Farming in Protected Landscapes) application and this is supported by Rebekah Newman – Peak District National Park Authority Agricultural Advisor and Sue
Smith – Head of access and rights of way for the PDNPA.
A decision is expected by planners in the next eight weeks.