Wild Moors today welcomed plans announced by the National Trust to scale up regeneration of the High Peak Estate for nature, the climate and benefit of future generations.

The restoration efforts seek to work alongside local people to repair biodiversity across the landscape and work to enable ecosystems and natural processes to re-establish themselves. It forms part of the National Trust’s High Peak vision, which has been updated since being released in 2013 to guide the conservation charity’s approach for the next forty years.

According to the National Trust, much of the focus will be on ensuring peatlands are fully restored, expanding native woodland and hedgerow cover and returning the river in the valley bottom to pristine condition. Alongside bringing big benefits to the climate through increasing natural carbon storage these changes will ensure a home is provided for a plethora of wildlife across the 32,000 hectare estate.

Luke Steele, Executive Director for Wild Moors, said: “The world is fast moving in a direction where restoring land for nature, carbon and people is at the forefront of tackling climate change and biodiversity loss. 

“The National Trust’s bold vision for the High Peak is to be commended and serves as an important step towards protecting and restoring this treasured landscape for the benefit of nature, the climate and future generations.”

Wild Moors has been lobbying the National Trust to change the way the High Peak Estate is managed, particularly surrounding the controversial use of moorland for grouse shooting. Following a consultation held in the spring the landowner has taken a number of steps to restrict grouse moor management which are ratified by the High Peak vision.

Burning of vegetation on carbon-rich peatlands has been completely ended; the damaging practice was previously used for cultivating younger, more nutritious heather to be eaten by game birds. The non-therapeutic use of medicated grit which is deployed to sustain unnaturally and unhealthily high populations of grouse has also been halted.

Shooting tenants are also no longer permitted to trap and kill stoats, weasels, foxes and corvids for the purpose of maintaining and driving up game bird numbers.

Whilst grouse shooting itself is still allowed on the estate, ending these practices marks a significant departure by the National Trust from grouse moor management, which Wild Moors has welcomed as progress.

Luke Steele adds: “It’s encouraging to see that the National Trust has restricted some of the most harmful and intensive elements of grouse moor management on the High Peak Estate. We urge the Trust to now go the whole way by ending grouse shooting altogether.”