Caring for the Uplands

The Watershed Landscape is a distinctive landscape rich in biodiversity and playing host to a variety of habitat types, from remote expansive moorland summits to managed pastures and rural settlements on the moorland fringes. The majority of the South Pennine uplands is designated as a Special Protection Area and is internationally important for its populations of endangered breeding birds.

As well as providing the perfect habitat for wildlife, the ecosystems of the South Pennines offer us important opportunities for recreation, learning, reflection and aesthetic experiences but also benefit us more directly through the provision of resources and services; for example fresh water through the natural water cycle, clean air, and the generation of fuel and food. The landscape is a delicate balance between the living organisms and their physical environment and the reliance that humans have had on this landscape for many thousands of years continues to change this balance. Threats to upland species include loss of habitat due to fire, erosion, development (particularly for recreation and access purposes) as well as climate change. Increasing pressure from the modern world means that these ecosystems need our care if they are to continue to withstand these demands.

The Watershed Landscape Project helped to support some of the key landowners and stakeholders in the uplands to care for this area and ensure that the rich biodiversity is protected through a series of activities such as peat stabilisation, re-vegetation of moorland habitats, tree planting, restoration of drystone walls and implementing sensitive access solutions.