Wildlife and habitats

The moorland

One of the many fine views of Marsden Moor © Simon Fraser

At Marsden Moor the National Trust cares for over 5,500 acres of unenclosed moorland.

The moorland may look rather barren, bleak and inhospitable but it harbours a vast diversity of birds, mammals and insects.

Deep peat covers most of the estate and provides a habitat for plants and animals that can cope with acidic soils, heavy rainfall and little shelter.


The moors are home to a wide variety of plant species © National Trust

A variety of habitats are essential to support the bird species which breed on the moor, some of which are of international importance.

The plants on the moor are managed as a mosaic; both older and younger plant species are needed to provide food and shelter to birds and animals.

Bare peat needs to be managed. Plants do not regenerate so easily so management work is necessary.

Birds of the moor

The South Pennine moors, of which Marsden Moor is a part, supports nationally important numbers of birds, including the twite and the golden plover.

Plants of the moor

Many different plant species can be found on the moors, some of which are rare.

Mammals of the moor

  • Although rarely seen, some mammals live on the moors, including:
  • Mountain hares
  • Shrews
  • Foxes
  • Voles
  • Weasels
  • Stoats