Keepers highlight moorland conservation
Gamekeepers in the north of England are working together to educate the public about the benefits of peatland restoration brought about by grouse moor management.
Keepers from five regional moorland groups — the North Yorkshire Moors Moorland Organisation, the Upper Nidderdale Moorland Group, the Peak District Moorland Group, the North Yorkshire Dales Moorland Group and the Northern Pennines Moorland Group have banded together to highlight the hard work and effort made by those in the grouse moor community.
Keeping peatland healthy leads to a range of benefits, including better water for drinking and aquatic life, greater biodiversity, wildfire prevention, improved carbon storage, slowing the flow of water after heavy rain, better grazing and, of course, land suitable for grouse shooting.
According to Natural England, there are currently at least 18,000ha of English moorland under restoration with more to come.
Jim Sutton, headkeeper at Snailsden Moor, a member of the Peak District Moorland Group, has hosted a series of talks explaining to local people the process of controlled burning and its benefits.
He said: “Heather burning is a useful tool in the process of managing vegetation and for speeding up restoration work taking place throughout the Peak District. England’s moorland is rugged, but certainly not wild and is in fact carefully managed by gamekeepers.
“It is a traditional part of moorland management which will help to restore peatlands and prevent wildfires, an issue we have encountered all too often in the Peak District. Overgrown, dry vegetation is much more likely to catch alight in the warm summer months and burn so hot that it severely damage the delicate peat beneath.”
Heather burning is a tradition used to help restore peatlands and prevent wildfires