Tuesday, 1 February 2011

Nature’s heavyweights join forces

National Trust and RSPB to manage the
 Eastern Moors together

An historic agreement by the National Trust and the RSPB will see the two charities co-managing a piece of land for the first time.

They will manage the Eastern Moors, on the outskirts of Sheffield, which is one of the major gateways to the Peak District National Park, for the next 15 years.

The Moors will still be owned by the Peak District National Park Authority but will be managed by the two charities through the Eastern Moors Partnership.

The National Trust and the RSPB are two of Europe’s biggest conservation charities with a combined membership of over 4.6 million.

The Eastern Moors cover 27 square kilometres on the western edges of Sheffield. It’s an area the size of Chesterfield and comprises five moors; Clod Hall, Leash Fen, Ramsley Moor, Big Moor and Totley Moss. The area also includes the popular walking and climbing areas of Curbar, Froggatt and Birchen Edges and 300 ha of broadleaf woodland.

The National Trust and the RSPB plan to continue to restore internationally important habitats like blanket bog, increase wildlife, including curlews and water voles, and improve access for the hundreds of thousands of people who already visit the site.

The site is currently visited by a quarter of a million people from around the world each year. The Peak District National Park is one of the most visited National Parks in the world.

Fiona Reynolds, National Trust Director General says: “The Eastern Moors is an area of extraordinary natural beauty and an incredibly important habitat for wildlife and an internationally important site for its archaeology.  I am delighted that the National Trust and the RSPB are working together to provide some opportunities for people to enjoy this area of countryside and get closer to nature, whether they are climbers, mountain bikers, walkers or simply in need of some spiritual refreshment.”

Mike Clarke, RSPB Chief Executive, says: “People are very proud of the Eastern Moors and rightly so. It’s got it all; it’s a stunning site which offers a great day out for all kinds of visitors and is home to incredible wildlife.

“The Eastern Moors Partnership will be working hard to enhance the current experience that visitors have and will provide new ways for people to enjoy the site. At the same time, we will develop a land management model which will be an example of how uplands can be managed in the future for people and wildlife.”

Jim Dixon, Chief Executive of Peak District National Park Authority, says: “We want the Eastern Moors to remain a superb resource for both wildlife and people, and that’s why I’m pleased that the Authority is entering this unique management partnership with the National Trust and RSPB. We hope that their national strength, working in harness with local communities, can develop the Eastern Moors to their full potential for biodiversity, access, landscape protection and carbon stewardship.”

Other wildlife in the area includes the only adder colony in the Peak District, as well as water voles, golden – ringed dragonflies and one of only two wild red deer herds in the Peak District.

The landscape of the Eastern Moors has been shaped by man over millennia, with evidence of prehistoric activity, medieval routes, post-medieval industry, 19th century agriculture and World War II activity.  Previous archaeological surveys have recorded the largest and most significant group of prehistoric remains known in the Peak District, with exceptional evidence for prehistoric farming, settlement and ritual landscape dating from the late Neolithic to the early Iron Age.  Currently an extensive archaeological landscape survey is taking place of the area managed by the Eastern Moors Partnership.
Last year the National Trust and the RSPB, through the Eastern Moors Partnership, organised a series of consultation workshops to hear the views of people about how the Eastern Moors should develop in the coming years.  The findings of these workshops, including people’s ideas, their connections with the area and their memories of it have been used to inform the Eastern Moors Vision which will guide the management of the area.

The two charities have recently advertised for new farming tenants, who will graze hardy breeds of cattle. As well as providing sustainable farm incomes, the way they manage the land will deliver a range of public benefits, such as improved water quality, reduced carbon emissions and management of carbon locked up in the peat.

For more information about Eastern Moors visit www.easternmoors.org.uk

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