High Peak Moors, Derbyshire

Sheep at Edale Rocks on Kinder Scout under a blue sky with clouds and the moorland behind.

The High Peak Moors are a life support system. The peat bogs and wet heaths capture huge volumes of water which ultimately flow through taps and showers in thousands of homes. The bogs also trap and store millions of tonnes of carbon - thus reducing levels of carbon dioxide, one of the main contributors to climate change.

But this rugged, sometimes uncompromising landscape is also vulnerable. The peat has become exposed, missing the mosses and cotton grass vital for a healthy habitat. Areas of trees and shrubs, crucial for the stability of valley sides, and giving homes to wildlife, have declined. Without help, the High Peak Moors could lose many of the features that make them so special. For years we have been working to protect and enhance them, and in 2013 plans were set out for the next 50 years and beyond. It’s our biggest and most ambitious conservation project, and fully deserved by the iconic High Peak Moors.

We're working together

By working with local people, communities and partner organisations a ‘Vision’ has been developed, and will keep developing. This sets out ways to secure the future health of the peat bogs, nurture the wildlife populations and encourage more trees and shrubs. It also recognises the importance of people in the moors’ future, both visitors and those who live and work there.

The Vision is already turning into action. The hardy ranger estate team press on with work, undeterred by challenging weather and ‘commutes’ that can involve climbing 300 metres. Days are currently spent blocking gullies to keep the water on the moors, planting native moorland cotton grass to re-vegetate bare areas and restoring badly eroding areas of peat. Many externally funded projects are also happening, notably with European, water company and Natural England money, much delivered by the Moors for the Future Partnership of which the Trust is a major partner.

Helicopters are a regular sight, moving materials to isolated, hard to reach areas. Everything from half-tonne loads of heather or stone to entire huts can be seen flying overhead. Fences are also key to restoration. New vegetation is a magnet for sheep, and the fences keeping them out of the Kinder plateau means newly seeded areas of peat are growing well.

How you can help

Meanwhile the ranger team is pressing ahead with woodland restoration. Two new areas are already stock proof, ready for planting and natural regeneration of trees, and another 100m of hedge has been laid in the Derwent Valley. Look out for opportunities to help us with this work.

Meanwhile, the ‘Treegeneration’ project involving local people and Bamford School has started growing locally sourced acorns for future planting.

All of this has been ably assisted by an excellent army of volunteers, who help with every aspect of our work from moorland restoration to administration and woodland work to guided walks. As part of the Vision three more viable farming units have been created out of one, giving opportunities to the next generation of tenants.

The Peak District, the first National Park, is enjoyed by millions of people every year. This exciting and ground-breaking new visit will help to create a place that is fit for the future challenges that this dramatic and beautiful landscape will face.

You’ll find full details of the plans in our High Peak Moors Vision and Plan, or follow us on Facebook and Twitter.