South Pennine Commons Project

The project was set up in April 2011 with £900,000 funding from Natural England through five HLS schemes on the commons, with the aim of enhancing moorland on commons in the Eastern Pennines. These commons lie in the South Pennines Special Protection Areas/Special Areas of Conservation and includes the Manor of Rochdale Commons. The project area stretches from the western edge of the Pennines, from Windy Hill transmitter (just south of M62) northwards towards Walsden and Tomorden, bounded by the A646 Tomorden to Halifax road and the Todmorden to Rochdale road A6033.

The conservation project is a continuation of work undertaken elsewhere in South Pennines/Dark Peak area and is the last part of South Pennine SPA/SAC for work to begin improve the condition of the moorland. The project will ensure that differing interests including nature conservation, ecosystem services and farming are balanced and will leave the moorlands in a healthy condition for current and future generations.

  • The reduction in bare peat will lead to less peat sediment in rainwater run-off, benefiting water destined to enter the water supply system.
  • The conservation works will improve a key habitat for the endangered twite or Pennine finch and important archaeological sites including the Roman Road will be safeguarded for future generations.
  • The area takes in Blackstone Edge, on the route of the Pennine Way, and walkers on this iconic long-distance footpath will be able to see for themselves the change in the landscape as areas of bare peat are restored to form a revegetated natural moorland.

By March 2015 the project will have carried out the following measures:

  • Revegetation of all areas of bare peat by spreading heather brash, plant plugs and reseeding
  • Control of grazing levels by the introduction of fencing to allow differential grazing on the commons Reintroduction of growing sphagnum to start active blanket bog formation
  • Safeguarding archaeological interest, particularly the Roman Road.

Project milestones

April 2011-Sept 2012

Formation of commoners association and application to Upland ELS/HLS scheme.

Application to Secretary of State for consent to fence common land.

September 2012 – July 2013

Fencing of commons in two phases; moorland and roadside fencing.

September 2013 – May 2014

Year 1 of reseeding and plug planting.

August – March 2015

Year 2 of peat restoration, reseeding/lime spreading and fertilizer spreading of bare peat areas.

Project partners

Manor of Rochdale, Natural England, Commoners' Association, United Utilities, English Heritage, Freeholders of Langfield Common

Our Partners

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