Green fields highlighted by sunrays through heavy clouds from Curbar Edge

National Park to receive £441k funding boost for moorland conservation work

Thursday 25 January 2024

Warslow Moors Estate moorland wetlandThe Peak District National Park is to receive a Government grant of £441,070 to help conserve habitats and wildlife on the Warslow Moors Estate.

The Countryside Stewardship grant from the Rural Payments Agency will enable the National Park to carry out conservation work, including planting sphagnum moss and enhancing habitats, such as blanket bog, on 255 hectares (630 acres) of the Warslow Moors Estate.

Phil Mulligan, Chief Executive of the Peak District National Park, said: “Receiving this substantial grant for Countryside Stewardship is fantastic news for the Warslow Moors Estate. It will enable us to deliver a real boost for moorland habitat and nature conservation that includes carbon sequestration, peatland restoration, water quality improvement and flood prevention downstream.”

Kate Williams, Lead Adviser in the Peak District and Derbyshire Team at Natural England, said: “We have worked closely with the National Park Authority to develop this agreement, and together we have designed a scheme that supports and improves the conditions for the wide range of wildlife and other environmental benefits that these moors contain and can support. We look forward to seeing the results.”

All of the moorland blocks have previously benefitted from positive interventions for the environment by the National Park working with Natural England, the Environment Agency and the Ministry of Defence. This latest Countryside Stewardship grant will enable the National Park to further enhance seven blocks of moorland on the Estate.

Chris Manby, Rural Estates Manager for the Peak District National Park, said: “We will be using the grant to enhance habitats which include measures such as rewetting and planting of sphagnum moss– it feels like we are able to put the final piece of the jigsaw in place.’’

“The work on the ground is designed to enhance and restore the hydrological function of blanket bog and wet heath habitat, to reduce erosion, slow the flow of water during heavy rainfall, retain water on the moors, reduce risks of fire, enhance blanket bog and wetland heath, improve habitat resilience and carbon capture, and encourage the spread of sphagnum moss.”

In total, the Estate comprises 2023 hectares (5000 acres) of moorland, farmland and woodland. The National Park Authority has owned the land since 1986, having acquired it from the Harpur Crewe family as part of death duties paid to the Government, and worked consistently to enhance the moorland environment for its conservation value.

All of the moorland is of national and international importance. The moorland is in the Leek Moors Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI). The SSSI was designated in 1989, and the National Park has worked to diversify the moorland habitat for nature conservation, aiming to achieve the SSSI ‘favourable’ condition. The area is part of the Peak District Moors (South Pennine Moors Phase 1) Special Protection Area (SPA) and the South Pennine Moors Special Area of Conservation (SAC).

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