Working with private landowners

We work with moorland owners and farmers to improve the condition of Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs) which have been designated for their special vegetation and wildlife.

Using funding from Natural England’s Higher Level Stewardship scheme moorland owners and farmers can collaborate with us to deliver a recovery project tailored to their specific needs.

Plans for each individual project are drawn up with the landowner and Natural England with the aim of improving the moorland habitat and benefitting biodiversity.

Cottongrass in bloom

The works include:

  • building footpaths
  • constructing fire ponds
  • removing invasive rhododendrons
  • spreading heather brash and geo-textiles to stabilise the bare peat
  • applying lime, seed and fertiliser to re-vegetate bare and eroding peat
  • introducing Sphagnum mosses, which formed the peat in the first place
  • blocking historic drainage grips and eroding gullies

As more individual land managers join in, more SSSI units, which together form the Dark Peak SSSI – designated for its special vegetation and wildlife – will be joined together to create a landscape-scale regeneration programme across neighbouring areas of private land.

The benefits of this approach, based on our more than 10 year experience of delivering landscape-scale moorland conservation projects, include:

  • increased water retention on the SSSIs to sustain their special plantlife and peat bogs
  • a healthy, bio-diverse and resilient eco-system that benefits wildlife, farm animals, birds and tourism
  • improved footpaths and bridleways to minimise recreational erosion and disturbance to wildlife
  • reduced peat erosion into our reservoirs
  • slower run-off into rivers after downpours, potentially reducing flood-risks
  • more carbon retention, stored in the peat, which helps mitigate climate change.

Our Partners

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