Saving nature in the Peak District

wildflowers, limestone pavement, overlooking green valley

Fields of flowers nodding in a gentle breeze, humming with the sounds of birdsong and bees. A perfect summer's day in the countryside, alive with nature.

We are now able to ensure that two more places like this are looked after forever, thanks to generous supporters who have left legacies to the National Trust in the Peak District. We’ve been able to secure two precious and rare areas of farmland on the White Peak plateau thanks to them. 

Their support has enabled us to buy the equivalent of 260 football pitches (186 hectares) of farmland with beautiful wildflower rich hay meadows and grassland thriving with wildlife.The £2.15 million purchase is the largest farm land acquisition by the National Trust in the last seven years. We will now work with partners to join up other nearby areas of landscape to make it healthier and friendlier for wildlife.

Dark green fritillary on thistle flowers at High Fields.
dark green fritillary on purple thistle flowers
Dark green fritillary on thistle flowers at High Fields.

The land at High Fields near Longshaw and the farm at Greensides near Buxton are home to the most diverse range of grasses and flowers, plus an enormous range of insects and invertebrates, small mammals and birds, creating an eco-system that supports a complete food chain. This is testament to the generations of farmers that have cared for them, farming them traditionally and in tune with nature.

The limestone soils of the White Peak enable a huge variety of flowers and grasses to thrive. Each summer these meadows display a dazzling mosaic of colour and sound, from vibrant purple orchid and blue and white mountain pansy to bright yellow common rock rose and frothy white pignut. The flowers make the perfect home for bees, butterflies and birds such as meadow pipits and skylarks, filling the air with sounds of nature.

Common spotted orchid flowering at High Fields
common spotted orchid foreground in meadow on hill top
Common spotted orchid flowering at High Fields

Rare examples of limestone pavement supporting ferns and wildflowers can be found at both farms. High Fields also has some dewponds, originally created as watering holes for cattle, which now provide the perfect location for protected great crested newts.

Looking over Oarystones limestone pavement at High Fields
limestone pavement view to green valley, scudding clouds in blue sky
Looking over Oarystones limestone pavement at High Fields

These rich grasslands and hay meadows need protecting and looking after because of the massive decline between the 1930s and 1980s when 97 per cent were lost due to the intensification of farming. This decline has continued in areas like the Peak District, despite it being in the National Park- and now we are able to help to reverse that trend.   

Greensides Farm in the Peak District
Greensides Farm in the Peak District
Greensides Farm in the Peak District

This is the type of landscape we’d never be able to protect and care for without the help of our supporters. For all of us who love and value what is most special and beautiful about our countryside we owe them a huge debt of gratitude. We'll continue to look after these places for the future, enabling their health and vitality to flourish. 

Wildflowers growing at High Peak.

Meadow conservation in the Midlands 

Hay meadows, once a key feature of our countryside, are becoming increasingly rare. As part of caring for our natural landscape we do our best to look after these important ecosystems.

Peak District Appeal

Donate to the Peak District Appeal