I was flying up at the Roaches with a few of the usual crowd quite happily over the bank holiday weekend in May, when suddenly a warden from the Wild Life Trust appeared and asked us to stop flying because we were not partaking in a permitted activity. He asked us if we would stop flying and land. If we didn’t do so he would take our car number plates. This was not the most tactful of approaches and immediately provoked debate from most of those present.
Perhaps, with hindsight, a less direct request to leave and a discussion with “someone in charge”, might have proved more effective, but I suppose, in all fairness, the warden was not a policeman, and was, apparently, new in post.
I don’t think I can put it any better than Ivan does in the June 2016 Newsletter:-
“Roaches::: news just in…. Over the May Bank Holiday weekend 7 of us were flying on the Roaches when we were approached by a young man who said he was a warden for ‘Staffordshire Wild Life Trust’ (the new owners). He asked us to land because we had not got permission to fly there and we were scaring the ground nesting birds.
After a discussion of about 30 minutes and telling him that modellers had been flying on that site for more than 50 years and that there was no proof whatsoever that gliders had any adverse effect on birds nesting or flying etc. We also told him that we stood on the edge of the road and there was no restriction on overflying moorland. We continued to fly.
He eventually left on friendly terms saying that it was his job to report the matter.
We have had these sorts of clashes every time the Roaches have changed hands or after a new warden has been appointed
Keith and I have seen guys from the S.W.T about18 months ago and they had no objection to us flying on the NE slope by the Roach Side track
Some common sense rules about our moorland slopes:: DON’T fly noisy aircraft. Fixed props Ducted fans etc; , Land owners have been assured that we will only fly gliders.
Respect property, gates, fences ~ remove litter ~ Country code ~ If you are approached by an official Please Please keep your cool and be polite and courteous at all times The quickest way to lose a site is to be rude and offensive to these people”
We have been flying at the Roaches without incident for at least 50 years, so what has suddenly changed in 2016 with the bird population is difficult to fathom. Present on that day was one member who said he was an ornithologist, a vegetarian, and would certainly not fly if he thought it was causing any harm to the bird population, who seem quite happy to fly in the same air as the gliders. In fact some of them follow the gliders around the sky in perfect partnership.