A major 50-year nature conservation project to protect Peak District peat bogs, heaths and woodlands rich in wildlife is being launched by the National Trust.
Trust managers say the initiative is their biggest and most ambitious yet, designed to protect 40 square miles of land in the High Peak moors.
They cover boulder-strewn landscapes of rocky tors, dramatic valleys and mile upon mile of wild and remote bog and heath.
The iconic Kinder Scout and the spectacular Upper Derwent Valley are among the best known parts, essential elements of the national park.
The trust’s general manager for the Peak, Jon Stewart, said: “This dramatic, and fragile landscape is the ideal place for the biggest and most ambitious work that we have ever undertaken to develop a clear road map for one of our upland estates.
“While there is much to celebrate about the moors and their valleys, there are massive management challenges such as eroding peat, drying out bog, lost woodland, suppressed heathland vegetation and maintaining good access. We want to work with those who care for and have a stake in their future to address these challenges.”
Conservation work will restore habitats such as bogs and heaths on the moor tops and heathland and woodlands in steep valleys.
A priority for the vision will be to keep the bogs wet by, for example, blocking gullies that have eroded the landscape and making sure that there is plenty of vegetation cover. Work has already begun on this on the plateau of Kinder Scout.
Work will also begin to increase the spread of trees and shrubs – both naturally and through planting – in the valleys to help restore wildlife habitat, improve water quality and conserve soils.