The National Trust has secured over £2.5 million to carry out the next stage of major restoration work on Kinder Scout. The project will take place over 5 years starting in 2011 and will see vast areas of the bare and degraded blanket peat landscape restored by gully-blocking, brash spreading and moorland revegetation work.
Funding for the Kinder restoration project has been secured from the Biffa Awards Scheme, United Utilities, Natural England’s Environmental Stewardship Scheme and the National Trust.
If this restoration project is to be successful a temporary sheep proof fence will be required to allow the newly planted vegetation the opportunity to get established while keeping open access to Kinder Scout for walkers.
Because Kinder Scout is so closely associated with access, the National Trust is launching a public consultation on 1 December to decide on the final location of the temporary fence line and where the access points for walkers should be.
Since acquiring Kinder Scout in 1982 the National Trust has already undertaken a lot of restoration work to reverse the legacy of 200 years of environmental and land use pressure. This project is the next phase in the restoration process.
Mike Innerdale, General Manager for the National Trust in the Peak District says: “Kinder Scout is one of the most iconic landscapes in the Peak District because of its vast open moorland, the wildlife that it is home to and because it was the setting for the Mass Trespass. However, it is also one of the most damaged areas of moorland in the UK and it’s future is in jeopardy as a result of catastrophic wildlfires, a long history of overgrazing, air pollution and the routes that thousands of visitors have taken. We’ve decided to take action with our partners to save Kinder for future generations.”
The benefits of restoring Kinder Scout reach beyond the improvements to the landscape and the wildlife it supports.
The amount of carbon stored within blanket peat on Kinder Scout is significant and whilst healthy peatlands take in and store carbon, damaged peatlands emit greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. Restoring Kinder Scout to a good condition will have a massive bearing on our ability to tackle climate change.
In addition, most upland moorland is the source for drinking water and because the moor is so degraded, the exposed peat gets washed away, finding itself in our water supplies which presents huge water quality and treatment problems for our water providers such as United Utilities who collect water in Kinder Reservoir.
Mike continued: “The temporary fence which will surround the most eroded parts of Kinder is designed to keep sheep – not people - out and give the plants time to take root. It is temporary and there will be multiple access points for walkers. We want people to get involved and tell us where they think the fence line should be and also where they’d like to see the access points.”
Recently, the Moors for the Future partnership has developed some new approaches to moorland restoration that have seen great success in habitat restoration on Bleaklow and the National Trust is keen to learn from this innovative project. However, the project has only been successful because a complete stock exclusion zone was achieved by erecting a fence around the site which allowed plants to re-vegetate and flourish on areas which were previously bare peat.
Through discussions with Natural England, other partners and local farmers, the National Trust has considered various options for achieving stock exclusion including gathering in the sheep via shepherding each week or by erecting a temporary fence around the site.
The outbreak of Foot and Mouth disease in 2001 and the introduction of new stock movement legislation meant that weekly shepherding was no longer an option. Since then, the National Trust has endeavoured to find a way forward, working with Trading Standards, Defra and local farmers but this has proved to be very difficult.
Consequently, the National Trust has now reached the conclusion that the only way to ensure the successful restoration of Kinder Scout in the current environment is to put up temporary fencing, for a maximum period of 15 years, until the revegetation is established.
However, the National Trust is continuing to try and find a solution that would prevent the need for the section of the fence which would extend across the plateau of Kinder.
The proposals are that the temporary fence , which would enclose an area of approximately 1374 hectares, would be on the northern side of Kinder from Park Hall Moor to Fair Brook and on the eastern boundary from Fairbrook to Blackden Brook and then possibly across the plateau to Grindsbrook. The western and southern edge of the moor is already stock proof via existing fences and walls. The National Trust owns much of the land but private owners own other parts.
Terry Howard, Chair of the Kinder Advisory Group said: “Whilst there is an ongoing search for other options we may have to accept the need for a fence if no other solution is sufficient. It’s important to know that walkers would still have access, attempts will be made to minimise the visual intrusion and the fence would only be temporary until such a time that Kinder flourishes again. This is a "short term" price to pay for the long term sustainability of Kinder Scout."
Consultation will take place during December and January and will include public meetings on 15 December (6pm – 9pm) at Edale Village Hall and on 6 January (6pm – 9pm) at the Royal Hotel, Hayfield. From 1 December you can also give feedback and find out more information via the National Trust website