News release14 May 2012
Funding boost helps Peak District trails blossom with wildflowersThe banks of the Tissington and High Peak trails in the Peak District National Park are blooming with wildflowers thanks to help from SITA Trust.
A grant of £25,000 last year enabled the Peak District National Park Authority, which owns the trails, to introduce sheep grazing on cuttings at Fenny Bentley and Parsley Hay. The sheep kept down thick grass and brambles beside the former railway lines, which allowed wild flowers to flourish.
The grant also enabled an ecological survey of the whole 13-mile Tissington Trail (Ashbourne to Parsley Hay) and 10 miles of the 17-mile High Peak Trail (Buxton to Cromford).
Its findings led to a further £55,000 SITA Trust grant this year to run a “cut and collect” machine that mows grass along the banks and harvests wildflower seeds for sowing elsewhere along the trails.
Native species such as cowslips, ox eye daisy, common spotted and greater butterfly orchids, meadowsweet and field scabious are already adding colour to the White Peak scenery and providing habitats for insects and birds.
National park ecologist Rebekah Newman said: “The trails are a really important part of the ecological network in the White Peak, and there’s no doubt that without SITA Trust we would not have been able to do this work.
“Wild flowers are able to flourish in a way that’s rarely seen in fields any more, and the trails connect a series of wildlife sites together so that all kinds of species have more opportunities to breed.”
Jools Granville of SITA Trust said: “We’re delighted to see the ongoing benefits of our funding in the Peak District National Park and hope that the many visitors to this incredible trail, both human and animal, enjoy this amazing British landscape.”
Further improvements are on the way for all four of the National Park Authority’s trails in the shape of a new five-year Management Plan, incorporating feedback from user-groups and the public.
Property manager for the trails, Abi Ball, said: “This funding from the SITA Trust is a vital element of the way we are improving the trails over the next five years. This is the first time we’ve been able to manage these important grassland habitats in such a large-scale way.”
SITA Trust provides funding through the Landfill Communities Fund. Funding is available for projects that enhance communities and enrich nature.