Yorkshire Water Estate

Yorkshire Water own and manage large areas of the upland landscape in the South Pennines and worked with the Watershed Landscape Project and Moors for the Future to ensure that this landscape is managed in the best way for its future survival.

Mapping and survey work to identify the priority sites for peatland restoration was undertaken. Areas of bare peat can be easily eroded and need stabilising through the introduction of a wider range of moorland species. A mosaic of plant species creates higher quality habitats and therefore encourages greater biodiversity.

One of the ways in which this is being achieved by Moors for the Future is through the laying of heather brash; a process whereby cut heather from local moors is laid over areas of eroding peat and blanket bog to help protect the area and also help seeds regenerate and grow. Grip blocking is also being undertaken by the team. This is when former drainage channels, once cut into the moors to increase the agricultural viability of the land, are blocked in specific places in order to keep water on the moorlands rather than letting it all drain off. Retaining the water in the grips helps to improve the moorland habitat, increase carbon storage capacity and prevent erosion.

Heritage Lottery funding from the Watershed Landscape Project complemented this work by supporting the restoration of traditional features in the landscape (such as sheep folds), enabling the surveying and monitoring of historic features (such as listed buildings, scheduled monuments, ruined farms), improving access and interpretation, and looking for alternative, traditional methods of removing invasive species such as bracken, Molina and Rhododendron using horses and volunteers.