Conservation and land management

We have been working since 2003 to reverse the damage caused by more than 200 years of industrial pollution, wildfires and historic overgrazing that has stripped plant life from large areas of peatland in the Peak District and South Pennines.

Bleaklow stones 2010

Conservation and land management

 Our work stretches from Nidderdale (Yorkshire Dales) in the north to Kinder Scout (Peak District) in the south, with 7 active projects mainly on Sites of Special Scientific Interest over more than 30 sites.

We work with partners, landowners and communities to return these moorland areas to their former glories and we’re working hard to ensure that once the peatlands are flourishing again, they remain that way.

Our work

  • Stock management. We put up fences and walls to manage grazing which allows vegetation to recover and to provide a suitable habitat for moorland birds such as the grouse, curlew and the rare twite or ‘Pennine Finch’.
  • Stabilising bare peat. We spread heather cuttings to protect the peat and provide a source of seeds. We apply lime to reduce acidity and spread grass seeds and fertiliser that will form an initial crop of grass.
  • Increasing diversity. We increase diversity by planting out by hand plugs of native species like cotton grass, heather, crowberry, cloudberry and bilberry.
  • Dams. We block erosion gullies (sometimes known as groughs) using stone dams, heather bales or timber planks. This helps prevent the peat from drying out by raising the water table and keeps eroding peat out of the reservoirs downstream.
  • Path management. We refurbish footpaths to protect against the effects of erosion by foot traffic. We landscape paths that have become divided over time, lay flagstones over boggy sections and add water management measures so that paths and the surrounding peat isn’t washed away in wet periods.
  • Clough woodlands. We create clough woodlands to help improve water quality in the cloughs, prevent erosion and provide habitat for native woodland birds.
  • Invasive species. We control invasive plants where we can – including purple-moor grass, rhododendron and bracken to ensure the SSSIs we work on are in a good condition.
  • Sphagnum. We reintroduce sphagnum moss - that was lost due to the effects ofindustrial pollution affecting the Peak District and South Pennines. Sphagnum is an important plant for active blanket bog as it is a key peat-forming species.

A series of factsheets have been produced and are available to download

Our Partners

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