Our work

Gully blocking

Stone dams should slow the flow of water and trap sediment behind them 

Stone dams should slow the flow of water and trap sediment behind them

Gully blocking is a technique which helps to slow the flow of water off the moors, trapping sediment and keeping the moors wetter for longer. Dams can be made out of stone, plastic, wood, coir logs or heather bales depending on the location and gully conditions. Re-wetting the moors should help prevent peat drying out and create better conditions for some of the important moorland plants and wildlife.

Plug planting

Re-vegetating bare areas helps stabilise the peat and reduce erosion 

Re-vegetating bare areas helps stabilise the peat and reduce erosion

Areas of bare peat are very susceptible to drying out and erosion by wind and water, causing peat to be lost from the moors. Planting moorland 'plug plants' is one way to help reduce this by re-vegetating bare peat with moorland plants such as cotton grass, bilberry and heather. The plug plants (small, young plants) are carried out on to the moors in trays and planted individually by hand using a tool called a dibber. The plants will hopefully grow and develop strong root system, helping to stabilise the peat and protect the ground surface.

Heather brash

Bags of heather brash waiting to be spread on White Moss, Marsden Moor 

Bags of heather brash waiting to be spread on White Moss, Marsden Moor

Heather brash, or cut heather, is used to help stabilise areas of bare peat. The brash is cut from local moorlands and airlifted on to site in white builders bags. Once out on site it is then spread by hand in a thin layer over areas of bare peat. This has many purposes: protecting the surface from erosion, introducing heather seed onto the bare peat and providing a micro-climate that encourages vegetation growth.

Lime, seed & fertiliser

Lime, seed and fertiliser being flown out to Wessenden Moor 

Lime, seed and fertiliser being flown out to Wessenden Moor

Although moorlands are naturally acidic some areas of the Peak District moorlands have been shown to have a pH similar to lemon juice, which is too acidic for even moorland plants to thrive. This is addressed by applying lime to help increase the pH to about 4, creating better conditions for moorland plants to grow. These areas are then treated with fertiliser and amenity grass seed, which grows quickly and helps stabilise areas of bare peat, providing better conditions for native moorland species to develop and establish. 

Community engagement

 We are keen for everyone to discover and enjoy Marsden Moor. Find out about the different groups we work with and how to get in touch if you would like to plan a visit.

Surveying and monitoring

Our team of survey volunteers meet weekly to monitor the changes on the estate. They look at the impact of our conservation work on the habitats, and carry out surveys for birds, plants and mosses.

Improving footpaths and access

The paths across the estate often cross boggy terrain. Over the last few years we have been laying flag stone paths on the worst areas to improve access and reduce erosion to the surrounding moorland.

Glorious plants

Our plant group volunteers work hard to grow a lovely selection of garden plants. We hold plant sales at our Estate Office every Friday from April 3 - September 25 to raise money to support our work. 

Challenges on Marsden Moor

Moorland Fires

Tackling a moorland fire on Close Moss, Marsden Moor, West Yorkshire 

Moorland fire is a continual threat in spring and summer, as wildfires can cause a lot of damage to these sensitive habitats and the wildlife they support. If you see a moorland fire on Marsden Moor please report it to the Emergency Services.

Bird nesting season

Curlew are one of the bird species that come to the moors to breed © northeastwildlife.co.uk

Many of the birds that come to breed on the moors nest on the ground so they are very sensitive to disturbance, so from the beginning of April to the end of July we only do practical work on footpaths to keep disturbance to a minimum. Please keep your dog on a lead when on the moors during the bird nesting season. 

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