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100 Years that Shaped the Countryside

9th July 2024

For a century, regional countryside charity, CPRE Peak District and South Yorkshire has been on a mission to protect the countryside.

When the pioneering environmentalist, Ethel Haythornthwaite founded the Sheffield Association for the Protection of Local Scenery she spearheaded a movement to ensure that the beauty of the countryside would be protected for generations to come. She was a countryside champion, who with the help of her family and husband Gerald, dedicated her life to the landscapes and green spaces of the Peak District and South Yorkshire.

As CPRE Peak District and South Yorkshire marks its centenary, it reflects on its historical impact on many of the local landscapes we cherish today. In ‘100 Years that Shaped the Countryside’ author Bill Bevan chronicles Ethel’s work and all those who have been inspired by her to preserve the natural beauty of the countryside. There are also contributions by others who have worked for the charity or researched some of the campaigns. The book examines the charity’s impact on significant issues such as transport, energy, housing and quarrying highlighting its contributions over the last century.

Bill based the book on the charity’s traditional annual reports, often editing text written by past charity staff. It focuses on the different decades, noting the key publications, exhibitions and achievements of the charity, which became the local CPRE branch in 1927. It details successful efforts to resist inappropriate developments, such as the Mayfield Valley and Rivelin.

There are many successes that CPRE Peak District and South Yorkshire can celebrate, including;

  • The creation of the Sheffield Green Belt, Britain’s first
  • The creation of the Peak District National Park, Britain’s first
  • The purchase of Longshaw for the National Trust
  • Halting a motor racing circuit in the White Peak
  • The ongoing fight against a Longdendale motorway
  • Quarrying and fracking have been fought off, hand in hand with local communities

Readers will undoubtedly learn something new about the UK’s Outdoor City and Sheffield’s green spaces, as well as discovering the impact the charity has had in areas such as Doncaster and Rotherham.

Purchase your copy of ‘100 Years that Shaped the Countryside’

About Bill Bevan

Bill is an archaeologist, heritage interpreter, writer and photographer. He has a long connection with the Peak District and South Yorkshire. Bill spent many years as a National Park Survey Archaeologist, which included directing the Gardom’s Edge excavations. He lived in Sheffield for over 20 years and now lives in Wirksworth, the southern gateway to the Peak District. He has come to know and love the many sides of the region’s beauty as well as its historical importance. He is passionate about the importance of protecting the countryside and urban green spaces for health and wellbeing.