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Connecting and developing hay meadows and woodland in the White Peak

A view of meadow leading to woodland growing on the hillside
Meadow and woodland in the White Peak | © National Trust

The National Trust is now caring for another 57 hectares of land including ancient woodland, grassland and hay meadows at Grindon in the White Peak area of the Peak District.

Developing, proteting and connecting hay meadows and woodland.

This will allow us to protect, connect and develop fantastic examples of hay meadows and woodland, some of which have already been recognised for their scientific importance or are designated as Special Areas of Conservation.

Improving biodiversity and climate resilience

The aim is to protect and improve the biodiversity of the area by ensuring important plants, animals, birds and insects, including important pollinators like butterflies and bees, have the best conditions to live and feed in this patch of the Peak District.

Not only will the work we plan to do help to protect these special sites, it will also create the right conditions for nature to thrive, capture carbon and make the area more resilient as our climate changes.

An important place for wildlife

General Manager at the National Trust in the Peak District, Craig Best explained:

“The land at Grindon has huge potential because of the wonderfully nature rich parcels of hay meadow and woodland that are already there. They’re wonderful to look at in the different seasons of the year and vital for our ecosystem too. When I visited earlier this year it was a real spectacle to see hundreds of meadow brown butterflies in such a small area. From the wildflowers in spring and summer to the autumn colour of woodlands, these places add to the beauty of our countryside landscape and they’re extremely important homes for wildlife.”

“We know we can build on the fantastic work done by previous owners and custodians of this land and we’re looking forward to creating even more places for nature to thrive around these good examples. The fact that the area connects with land already in our care and joins with land looked after by the Staffordshire Wildlife Trust, gives us a brilliant opportunity to work together with them and the local farming community to make a bigger positive impact for people, nature and climate.”

Water droplets hanging from red berries on a Hawthorn tree.
Hawthorn berries on a tree in the White Peak | © National Trust

Trees, woodland and wood pasture

As part of their work, the charity will plant and encourage the natural regeneration of native trees such as small and large leaved lime, field maple, whitebeam, cherry, crab apple, guelder rose and hawthorn so that wildlife can benefit from the food and shelter they provide. This means in years to come the size of woodland and wood pasture will increase and there will also be more scattered trees and shrubs across the landscape.

Improving habitats for grazing animals and wildlife.

Working alongside local farmers and other landowners, and using grazing animals, they will also protect and develop healthy meadows, hedgerows and grasslands. The work will improve soil health which will create a better diet for grazing animals, at the same time as reducing the risk of flooding.

Eventually, the work will help to create areas of shade and shelter for farm animals, small mammals and birds as global temperatures rise and we see more extremes in our weather patterns. In addition, it will contribute to providing a good quality and diverse food source for a variety of creatures from the smallest insect to the largest grazing animal.

Two rangers planting trees on a steep sided hill amongst existing trees. Tree guards are visible showing where they have already planted.

Find out more about our work in the White Peak.