7 June 2023

300-acre PEAK Resort site exceeds nature recovery targets in support of its revised, post-pandemic first phase.

On-going surveys of the Birchall Estate show a spectacular recovery in biodiversity in areas outside of the principle permitted development areas. A mixture of passive re-wilding, and limited land management in the principle permitted development areas have achieved this.  The increased biodiversity balance across the whole estate is already well beyond what will be the mandatory target of 10% Net Gain set by the Environment Act 2021. 


Once PEAK Resort is fully implemented, approximately 70% of the estate ownership will be given over to a nature reserve, equivalent to an area of 1.4 times the size of the National Arboretum.

The first phase of PEAK is proposed on 10% of the Estate and will generate 1,000 jobs. Details will be published this summer.

Achieving a balance between nature’s needs and people’s wants is at the core of the PEAK’s Regenerative Enterprise manifesto.

From the Middle Ages areas within the Birchall Estate were continuously exploited for quarrying, coal mining, opencast, timber extraction, munitions testing and building demolition landfill.

The current landowners acquired an interest in the Birchall Estate in the late 1980’s over 35 years ago when large areas of the Estate were ecologically barren following extensive open-cast activity.

They saw an opportunity to regenerate the Estate as a place where both people and nature could flourish.

Over two miles of new public access greenways and woodland trails, adopted as Public Rights of Way, have already been created on the Estate. These include a spectacular river walk and areas of native mixed species hedgerow full of bird song.

The landowners have entered into a joint venture with Milligan, a mixed-use real estate and destination developer for the first phase regeneration programme.

John Milligan, Executive Chairman of Milligan said “It was fundamental to our involvement that the land itself supported a continuity of purpose. The Gateway at PEAK will be a world class tourist and leisure destination, achieving a balance between the interests of nature and people are critical to its success.  Birchall have got this off to a cracking start with the achievements in biodiversity gains to date”.

Cllr Tricia Gilby, Leader of Chesterfield Borough Council said “It is fantastic to see formerly open cast land being regenerated for a purpose which balances both human and natural interests. The council are fully behind this regenerative enterprise which is entirely consistent with our climate change and economic growth ambitions.”

The Landowner, Birchall Properties said “Good news to be getting underway again in the wake of so many challenges – the banking crisis, BREXIT and COVID have not been able to distract us from our mission – onwards!”

If you would like to know more, or visit the Estate at the end of the current ecology season, please go to:  Nature @PEAK – Peak Liaison