Nidderdale AONB has some of the finest heather moorlands in the country. They are internationally important for conservation because of their rich concentration of rare plants and wildlife.
The AONB's moorlands are a result of close management over many centuries by moor owners, gamekeepers and tenant farmers. They work to provide the best conditions for red grouse. This management has created a network of important habitats that support rare plants and internationally important bird populations:
- Upland heath: more commonly called heather moorland, it occurs above the upper edge of enclosed agricultural land and below 600 metres. Drier upland heath is characterised by heather, bilberry and acidic grasses. Wet heath is typically cross-leaved heath with heath rush, deer grass and sedges.
- Upland flushes and pools: very wet areas dominated by sphagnum moss, sundews and sedges.
- Blanket bog: covers the fell tops. Underlain by a deep layer of peat the bogs are rich in sphagnum moss with cotton grass and heather. Characteristic plants such as sundews, butterwort, bog asphodel and cranberry can also be found.
- Gill woodlands: bracken, scrub and oak trees grow in the sheltered gills providing biologically rich habitats.
- Moorland edge: the transition habitat between agricultural land and heather. This area provides a very diverse range of habitats.
What are we doing to help conserve the AONB's moorlands?
- working with owners to help them access Countryside Stewardship grants
- a partner in the Yorkshire Peat Partnership
- promoting best practice for moorland management through training events for landowners
- running 'moorland 'events to help the general public understand the value of moorland management and the importance of these habitats.
What can you do to protect the AONB's moorlands?
- follow the Moorland Visitors Code
- keep dogs under control
- prevent uncontrolled moorland fires
- protect plants and animals and take your litter home
- come on an event and find out more about Nidderdale AONB's moorlands