Protecting our natural landscapes and water resources is one of the most important things we can do for future generations to enjoy.

The beautiful Peak District is not only our home, but also home to some incredible flora and fauna which are vital for keeping the landscape rich and thriving. We’re working hard to protect this land and the water beneath our feet.

Buxton’s hills produce some of the UK’s finest mineral and spring water resources. Its landscape is unique for filtering the mineralised, pure natural source water.

Rain which fell 5,000 years ago now rises naturally in the centre of Buxton as mineral water and has been enjoyed for generations.

It is vital we do everything we can to protect not only the water, but also the land where it falls, and flows. Water is a shared resource and a shared responsibility. Caring for it isn’t something we can do by ourselves – it takes the whole community.

Hayley LLoyd House Hayley LLoyd House (Image: Zoe & John Photography)

This is why we have been working on different projects across Derbyshire with a whole range of partners, agencies, companies, and landowners to make sure we are all supporting each other in protecting our amazing natural environment.

Our work so far has been recognised by achieving the prestigious Alliance for Water Stewardship (AWS) Standard certification in 2021, with platinum status. We were the first manufacturing site to be awarded this in the UK.

The AWS Standard is the international accredited standard for measuring responsible water stewardship across social, cultural, environmental, and economic criteria.

A platinum rating is the highest level of certification available, so it really is an outstanding achievement, not just for us but the impact it brings to the water catchment and everyone within it.

As water stewards, we continuously seek and work on projects that help protect the quality and sustainability of our water resources; it is at the heart of what we do.

For one of these projects, we have joined forces with the Environment Agency, Severn Trent, landowners Harris & Sheldon Group, and Moors for the Future Partnership to help restore Combs Moss in the Peak District.

Like all blanket bog moorland in the Peak District, it has been impacted by its proximity to heavy industry and the pollution that was caused by the Industrial Revolution.

Aerial views of restoration work at Combs Moss Aerial views of restoration work at Combs Moss (Image: Doug Peters/PA Wire)

The innovative restoration project, run by Moors for the Future Partnership, includes planting 187 hectares with sphagnum moss and 34 hectares with vascular plug plants and gully blocking using several materials and methodologies such as peat dams, stone dams, coir logs, and large leaky timber.

The restoration measures are designed to deliver benefits on and off-site, creating conditions where water may be held on Combs Moss moorland for longer.

This will help slow the flow of water and mitigate the risk of flooding downstream in Buxton, where flooding has previously occurred along the convergence of two brooks, Hogshaw and Nunsbrook.

The work will also help increase biodiversity, resilience to wildfires, and carbon capture in the area. It’s a great collaborative effort that involves working hand in hand with these landowners, experts, government bodies and local organisations.

We have also worked with the Japanese Knotweed Agency to eradicate Japanese Knotweed at the Cowdale Quarry, a site owned by us and managed by Derbyshire Wildlife Trust.

Japanese Knotweed is the UK's number one invasive and non-native species that, if left untreated, will grow exponentially and can have a detrimental impact on native biodiversity and local infrastructure.

It is every landowner's responsibility to remove Japanese Knotweed from their land. All Cowdale Quarry land management practices are chemical-free and we’re excited to work with a partner that is using innovative technology to help eradicate it from the site.

The River Ecclesbourne The River Ecclesbourne (Image: Derbyshire Wildlife Trust)

The 36-hectare site just under a mile east from Buxton town centre is made up of meadows and pastures. The work being carried out is hoped to provide more homes for some of Derbyshire's birds, mammals, and flowers.

Our work has also involved another recent project working with Derbyshire Wildlife Trust, Wild Trout Trust, and the Chatsworth Estate to help restore the River Ecclesbourne and support the return of Atlantic salmon to their natural habitat after more than 100 years.

Since the river was diverted for milling in the 18th century, a weir in Turnditch was preventing fish migration. Work was needed to re-meander a section of the river back to its original course and bypass this physical barrier.

The excavation and construction of a new channel is now complete, opening over 28km of river for many fish species, helping improve its water quality, ecological status and biodiversity.

Caring for nature and water is a collaborative effort. We are grateful that by working together we are able to deliver tailored, nature-based solutions which address shared water challenges in the communities we operate in.

We are committed to leading the regeneration of water cycles in Derbyshire to help achieve a water positive impact locally.

But we can’t do this alone. We are proud that we can work with those who share the same goal and are also lucky enough to live and work in the stunning Peak District.

Together, we can help protect local water resources and the land to ensure they will be here for generations to come.