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White Peak Practical Field Trials

peak district landscape

New tools for new times - delivering a Nature Recovery Network in the White Peak

The Lawton Report 'Making Space for Nature' found that the White Peak National Character Area has the highest levels of habitat fragmentation within any of England's National Parks.

If Defra's 25 Year Environment Plan and the challenges set out in the Glover Review of Protected Landscapes are to be met in the White Peak, the future Environmental Land Management scheme will need new tools to link and extend habitats across the plateau.

The Peak District National Park Authority and Natural England have been working together and with partners for almost 20 years to restore hay meadows and create species-rich grasslands in the White Peak. Whilst we will continue with this successful work, we recognise that it won't be enough to create a full Nature Recovery Network across the high-fertility plateau of the White Peak.

The ambition of the Trials is for learning to be fed into the design of Defra's new Environmental Land Management scheme, developing the tools needed for landscape scale nature recovery in the White Peak and throughout England.

What are we doing?

The Trials are researching new ways of delivering the better, bigger and joined ambitions of the Lawton Report.

Read a summary of the Trials.

Better - structural diversity within Priority Habitat

At National Trust High Fields.

Bigger - wildlife pasture

Creating pasture grassland with scrub and wildflowers on previously productive silage fields.

Joined - grass margins as wildlife corridors

A network of structurally and species diverse wildlife margins around silage fields.

Joined - herbal leys as stepping stones

A scatter of herbal leys across the plateau, with some allowed to flower at any given time.

One year in...

The Trials have been up and running for just over a year.

Read the full report or a shorter summary to find out what we learnt during the first year.

Get involved

We are looking to expand the Trials across more White Peak farming systems, or perhaps into other areas of the Peak District. If you have ideas about how to support wildlife on your farm, or would be willing to try any of these approaches, please get in touch:

We hope to be able to offer farmers and land managers the opportunity to see some of the Trials when Coronavirus restrictions ease. If you are interested in visiting the Trials please contact Sarah Bird sarah.bird@peakdistrict.gov.uk

In the mean time, read about the experiences of one of our trailblazing farming families - featured in the Summer 2020 edition of Parklife magazine (just flick to page 9!).

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