Green fields highlighted by sunrays through heavy clouds from Curbar Edge

Upland Heathland

Peak District millstones on hillside near Stanage

Upland Heathland (pdf full description)

Approximate Extent: c.14,610 ha
Distribution: Dark Peak and South West Peak

Opportunities and Threats

Extent -  Extensive tracts across the Dark Peak and South West Peak, with some historic losses but probably now stable or even increasing with grass moor and plantation reversion.  Very limited areas of “limestone heath” in the White Peak, with large historic declines but probably now fairly stable.

Condition – Moderate but slowly improving over much of the Dark Peak and South West Peak, where a legacy of air pollution, heavy grazing and extensive burning is being reversed.  Condition of limestone heath in theWhitePeakis probably improving on the larger sites but declining on smaller sites

Connectivity -  Excellent across most of the Dark Peak and South West Peak, forming part of  large contiguous tracts of moorland and other upland habitats.  Some smaller fragmented sites away from core areas.  Very poor in the White Peak, where “limestone heath” is highly fragmented, generally with small or very small isolated sites.

Climate change risks – High risk due particularly to increased fire risk.  Also risk of decline in grouse moor management if red grouse decline with climate change.  Other risks include increased bracken spread and loss of upland species.


International importance, generally stable extent, moderate condition and high climate change risk mean it is-

High priority to:

  • Maintain and enhance condition of protected sites by maintaining/securing appropriate grazing, burning and cutting regimes, and managing bracken and scrub invasion where necessary.
  • Monitor key species susceptible to climate change.
  • Maintain and enhance fire prevention and firefighting measures

Medium priority to:

  • Secure appropriate management of unprotected sites.
  • Restore/create new areas from grass moor and plantation woodlands, particularly where this would extend and link isolated/small sites.
  • Adapt management to species which may benefit from climate change.

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