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To celebrate our Centenary, we have commissioned Sheffield poet and author Helen Mort to pen a tribute to Ethel’s legacy.

8th March 2024

Multi-award-winning Sheffield writer Helen Mort celebrates legacy of Sheffield-born countryside campaigner Ethel Haythornthwaite

A pioneer of the British countryside movement, Sheffield’s Ethel Haythornthwaite revolutionised access to the UK’s wild and varied landscapes – the result of tireless campaigning during the inter- and post-war years.

Founder of the Sheffield Association for the Protection of Rural Scenery in 1924 –which became the local branch CPRE in 1927 – Ethel worked to protect the countryside of the Peak District from inappropriate development. She forefronted a public appeal to save the 747-acre Longshaw Estate so that it could be gifted to the people of Sheffield, and helped acquire land around Sheffield that became its Green Belt. She was appointed to the UK government’s National Parks Committee and helped to make the successful case for the National Parks and Access to the Countryside Act of 1949, which led to the founding of the Peak District National Park in 1951. She also helped make Green Belts part of government policy in 1955.

To celebrate our Centenary in 2024, we have commissioned Sheffield poet and author Helen Mort to pen a tribute to Ethel’s legacy.

In Ethel, Helen writes a series of letters to Ethel’s memory, inspired by Ethel’s archive of correspondences, to which Helen was given unrestricted access. The book links the two female writers over the spectrum of time, each passionate about the beauty and accessibility of the Peak District and UK’s natural environments.

Helen Mort has published three poetry collections (Division Street, 2013; No Map Could Show Them, 2016; and The Illustrated Woman, 2022, shortlisted for the Forward Prize). She has also written a novel (Black Car Burning, 2019), a short story collection (Exire, 2019) and writes drama and creative non-fiction.

Order your copy of Ethel now.