President and Vice Presidents


Dame Fiona Reynolds

Fiona became Master of Emmanuel College Cambridge in 2012 following her appointment as Director-General of the National Trust since 2001. Before this she was Director of the Women’s Unit in the Cabinet Office and was previously Director of CPRE and Secretary to the Council for National Parks. Fiona was appointed CBE for services to the environment and conservation in 1998 and was appointed DBE in 2008.

“Living in Cambridge, I yearn for the Peak District’s multi-layered horizons, secret valleys, ever-changing views and stunning edges. It means a lot to be your President and to have an additional reason to remind myself of the Peak District’s beauty. As our first National Park, the Peak District holds a treasured place in the nation’s conservation story. As does this CPRE branch, launched by Ethel Gallimore (later Haythornthwaite) who’s vision and bravery – even audacity – as a pioneer of the countryside protection movement is humbling.”


Bella Hardy

BBC Radio 2 Folk Singer of the Year 2014. Born in Edale, Bella has a great sense of belonging, and pride, from being from the Peak District

“The hills, the views, and the people; the whole feeling travels with me wherever I find myself, influencing my music. I’m honoured to be an ambassador for the Friends, to be able to share this love of the Peaks, and support their good work”.

Mark Cocker

Mark is an author, naturalist and environmental tutor who writes and broadcasts on nature and wildlife in a variety of national media, including The Observer, The New Statesman and The Spectator. He has contributed to the Guardian Country Diary since 1987. Buxton-born, he was our first Ambassador, championing all things landscapes and Peak District on behalf of the Friends.

Helen Mort

Helen is an author based in Sheffield who grew up in Chesterfield and learned to climb on Derbyshire gritstone. She has published two poetry collections with Chatto & Windus, ‘Division Street’ (2013) and ‘No Map Could Show Them’ (2016). Her work has been shortlisted for the Costa Prize and T.S. Eliot Prize as well as the Banff Mountain Literature Festival Prize in Canada. Helen’s first novel ‘Black Car Burning’ is forthcoming from Chatto in April 2019. She has also written plays (‘Medusa’, 2017) and short stories (‘Exire’, 2018). Helen is a Lecturer in Creative Writing at Manchester Metropolitan University, was a previous Chair of Judges for the Boardman Tasker Prize for Mountain Literature and has written and presented programmes on Radio 3 and Radio 4. From 2013-2015, she was Derbyshire Poet Laureate and is a former Poet in Residence at The Wordsworth Trust, Grasmere.

Helen says of her role as ambassador for the Friends: “The Peak District has always been an integral part of my life, whether that’s as a climber, walker, runner or writer – many of my poems have been inspired by the edges and hills of Derbyshire. I believe passionately that we should support and preserve the landscape that sustains us and the communities that landscape creates. I’m very proud to be a member of Friends of the Peak and even more proud to be an ambassador for such a thriving cause. Sheffield wouldn’t be ‘the outdoor city’ without its proximity to accessible wild places and those places don’t protect themselves. I owe most of my writing to where I come from.”

Vice Presidents

Lady Estelle Morris

Estelle is a former teacher, Member of Parliament and Secretary of State for Education. She continues to work in politics and education and has a home in the Peak District. As such she is a keen supporter of the work of Friends of the Peak District.

Julia Bradbury

Julia’s love of the countryside is clear from her work presenting the BBC’s Countryfile, Railway Walks and Wainwright’s Walks series. Julia went to school in Sheffield and says her outdoor career began in the Peak District, when her father brought her out for walks from the age of six.

Anne Robinson

As well as being our tireless and brilliant transport campaigner, Anne has been vice-president since 2007. She is also a board member of the Campaign for National Parks. Anne was chair of Friends of the Peak District from 2002 – 2007.

Jack Burling

Jack was our chair between 1999 and 2002. He has also been chair of the Sheffield Campaign for Access to the Moorlands, Area Footpath Secretary of the Ramblers Association in South Yorkshire and North East Derbyshire, and a member of the Open Spaces Society’s executive committee.

John Tarn

John has strong links with the Peak District as he was vice-chair of the Peak District National Park Authority in the eighties, and also lectured at the University of Sheffield. John was chair in architecture, and pro-vice chancellor of Liverpool University and has received many academic honours plus an OBE for his services to architecture.