Five year restoration to give Kinder Scout a new lease of life
A £2.5 million project to restore Kinder Scout, driven forward by the National Trust, the Biffa Awards Scheme, United Utilities and Natural England’s Environmental Stewardship Scheme has been informed by the views of local people following a period of consultation.
The project will take place over 5 years starting in 2011 and will see vast areas of the bare and degraded blanket peat landscape restored by gully-blocking, brash spreading and moorland revegetation work. If this restoration project is to be successful a temporary fence around Kinder Scout, designed to keep sheep — not people — off the moorland will be required, to allow the newly planted vegetation the opportunity to get established while keeping open access to Kinder Scout for walkers. As the moorland vegetation re-establishes, local wildlife will also benefit, including priority species such as Skylark, Dunlin and Curlew.
Consultation was launched in December to give local people the chance to have their say on plans to install a temporary fence, including public meetings in Edale and Hayfield and feedback via the Kinder Scout website.
Mike Innerdale, General Manager for the National Trust in the Peak District says:
“Kinder Scout is loved by thousands of people who live locally or visit the area so it was important to us that those people had the opportunity to play a part in helping us plan the line of the fence and the best access for walkers. The majority of people were in support of our plans to install a fence to keep sheep off Kinder whilst the restoration work takes place and we’ve been able to work with them to find out where their favourite routes are on Kinder Scout so that we can take these into account when we’re planning the access points for walkers in the line of the fence.”
The first phase of the fencing will, subject to weather conditions, start being installed later this month and will be completed by the end of March. The work is being undertaken by a local contractor, Allan Froggatt Fencing, and will see the fence posts flown into the remote site by helicopter.
The fence line will include access points no further than 100m apart and they will take the form of a step over stile. In addition, more regular access points will be installed where there are Public Rights of Way or paths and routes that are commonly used by people.
The restoration work will start as soon as the fencing is in position and the will see the planting of 81,000 cotton grass plants this Spring which will stabilise areas of bare peat and eroding gullies. An additional 39,000 plants will be planted by the end of the summer, and many more over the next few years. Following on from that, heather brash will be spread across large areas of Kinder to encourage heather to re-seed and large numbers of erosion gullies are being blocked each winter until 2014/15, involving the creation of small ‘dams’ made of stone, timber or plastic piling to reduce peat erosion, help keep the peat wet and encourage the new vegetation to thrive.
As the moorland recovers, it will also improve water quality by reducing suspended sediments and colour in the water, which it is hoped will in turn reduce water treatment costs downstream.
Background to Kinder restoration work
The National Trust acquired Kinder Scout in 1982. Kinder Scout lies within the Dark Peak Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI); the South Pennines Special Area for Conservation (SAC); the Peak District Moors (South Pennine Moors Phase 1) Special Protection Area (SPA) and the North Peak Environmentally Sensitive Area (ESA).
Since acquiring Kinder the National Trust has been pioneering restoration techniques on the damaged areas in the following ways:
- Re-wetting the peat by blocking gullies with special dams to raise water levels and hold back peat sediment. This helps prevent the carbon losses that occur when peat dries out. It is estimated that 25,000 gully blocks are needed to protect the remaining intact peat on the High Peak Estate. Currently 3,500 gully blocks have been put in place at a cost of £230,000.
- Changing the level of grazing by significantly reducing the number of livestock on the moors in order to slow down the rate of vegetation loss and subsequent erosion.
- Preventing fires in the face of increasing summer temperatures and drought through local education programmes and development of a joint Fire Fighting Strategy for the Peak District moors.
- Managing visitor impacts by re-routing footpaths on damaged parts of the moors and re-building footpaths, frequently using stone flags.