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Restoring Damaged Moorland Sites

Moors for the Future is a partnership project to restore large parts of the internationally important Peak District moors.

The project has three aims:

  • To restore and conserve moorland sites most damaged by access and recreational pressures
  • To enhance the moorland heritage experience for both visitors and local people and encourage greater care of it.
  • Establish a learning centre to develop conservation expertise and provide a research and educational resource available to all

    This section will look at the work involved in restoring the damaged moorland sites.

    The Peak District Moors are a degraded ecological and landscape resource that require sustained management to prevent further deterioration. Any visitor to the moors or anyone flying in an aircraft over them cannot fail to notice the large areas of bare and eroding ground. This is not a problem confined to the Peak District moorlands but its extent and severity is probably greater here than on any other extensive moorland are in the UK.

    What are the causes of erosion ?
    Research in recent years has pointed to these factors as causes of erosion
  • Air pollution
  • Sheep grazing pressure
  • Uncontrolled fires
  • Climatic change
  • Recreational trampling
  • Natural processes
    No one can be absolutely sure of the precise causes at any one site, but what is clear is that once erosion begins it is an ongoing and worsening problem, unless tackled. The resultant loss of vegetation and peat is an aesthetic issue for walkers, an agricultural and sporting issue for landowners, an ecological issue for moorland habitats and wildife and a long-term economic issue for water companies to remove water colouration and sediment from reservoirs.

    Experimental restoration work on paths and areas of eroded ground in the Peak District and elsewhere on moorlands in the UK have shown that it is possible to stabilise the erosion and restore vegetation to the bare ground in a manner which is aesthetically acceptable and ecologically sound. The Moors for the Future restoration work falls into three main areas:

    1.The establishment of moorland vegetation on bare peat damaged by fires. Here the exclusion of stock encourages the growth of sown grasses and heather
    2.Upland Path Works : This involves the rebuilding and sometimes re-routing of paths on the moors damaged by access. These vary from old constructed routes in need of repair, strengthening or realignment, to formalising and surfacing new desire lines.
    3.Informing the public of what is going on and the assessment of ways of reducing disturbance to important habitats and recently restored ground.

    For further information about this exciting project please visit Moors for the Future