It’s wild up north

Country Life Every Week - - Town & Country -

ATURAL ENG­LAND has named a new SSSI: the West Pen­nine Moors. The area (right), which cov­ers a to­tal of 76sq km (29sq miles) be­tween Chor­ley, Black­burn, Bolton and Hasling­den in Lan­cashire and Greater Manch­ester, is the largest new SSSI for more than a decade.

A ‘mo­saic’ of up­land habi­tats and moor­land fridge grass­lands and wood­land in the re­gion sup­ports many breed­ing birds, in­clud­ing large colonies of both black-headed and Mediter­ranean gulls, as well as mer­lin, curlew, snipe, lap­wing and red­shank.

Nat­u­ral Eng­land’s Chief Ex­ec­u­tive, James Cross, calls this ‘a sig­nif­i­cant mo­ment for the pro­tec­tion of wildlife across a wild and beau­ti­ful ex­panse of north-west Eng­land… [which will] ben­e­fit both peo­ple and the en­vi­ron­ment’.

The hilly West Pen­nine Moors also pro­vide clean drink­ing water for thou­sands of house­holds and their abil­ity to store water (in blan­ket bogs) is vi­tal in re­duc­ing flood risk to ur­ban ar­eas down­stream. Other im­por­tant facets to the moors’ man­age­ment that Nat­u­ral Eng­land will now work on to­gether with landown­ers and land man­agers—pro­vided the SSSI no­ti­fi­ca­tion

Nis re-confirmed in nine months’ time af­ter the nec­es­sary con­sul­ta­tion pe­riod—in­clude sen­si­tive graz­ing, both to ben­e­fit wildlife habi­tats in species-rich grass­lands and to main­tain peat water lev­els.

To date, there are more than 4,000 Na­tional Na­ture Re­serves (NNRS) and SSSIS looked af­ter by Nat­u­ral Eng­land.

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