Green fields highlighted by sunrays through heavy clouds from Curbar Edge

Upland Oakwoods

Peak District millstones on hillside near Stanage

Upland Oakwoods (pdf full description) 

Approximate extent – 1,688 ha

Distribution – Dark Peak and South West Peak

Opportunities and Threats

Extent - Prehistorically this would have been one of the most common habitats over much of the Peak District.  Today, largely confined to cloughs and valley sides in the Dark Peak and parts of the South West Peak.

Condition - Good within most SSSIs, probably suffering from loss of traditional coppice management and damage through grazing pressure elsewhere.

Connectivity -  Variable, with great scope for enhancing connectivity through cloughs and valleys

Climate change risks - High. Upland oak woodlands are at the south-eastern edge of their British range in the Peak District, requiring damp summers.  Therefore there is a need to extend woodlands into bracken and low diversity areas of northern and eastern slopes where it is likely to be cooler and wetter.  Increasing the size of existing woodlands will provide a greater chance for them to adapt over a longer period.


The value of the habitat for a wide range of species and, extent of this habitat in the Peak District, and its vulnerability to climate change mean it is:

High priority to:

  • Defragment isolated ancient oak woodlands.
  • Expand upland oakwoods in moorland edge cloughs and northern/eastern slopes.

Medium priority to:

  • Restore Plantations on Ancient Woodland Sites to upland oakwood.

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