There are many constraints on time for moorland survey work and forward planning will help make the most of your time and prepare for potential problems. Some of the constraints include:
- Bad weather, all year round but especially in winter. Sites can become inaccessible and/or dangerous. Surveyors should ensure they are properly equipped and can navigate safely in poor visibility conditions. Footpaths should be followed whenever possible.
- Bird nesting season – many moorland sites are used as breeding areas for ground nesting birds. Surveyors should aim to avoid fieldwork between April and July if possible. Otherwise, Natural England MUST be consulted.
- Shooting season – Grouse shooting begins on 12th August. Any work you do should avoid disturbing birds and avoid shoot days.
The Moors for the Future Partnership works across a large area with several different landowners and agricultural and sporting tenants. Although these sites are often Open Access land, this does not give us automatic permission to carry out surveys in these areas. We cannot grant permission to researchers wishing to carry out field work on the moors and you should be prepared to consult with landowners yourself. In some cases, usually where we are collaborating with institutions, we can facilitate this, but as we have limited time, this should not be relied upon. We cannot give out contact details for landowners and tenants.
As much of the moorland is SSSI and SAC, permission and advice should be sought from Natural England to carry out many types of fieldwork – especially in bird nesting season (between March and July).
Health and Safety
There is often no mobile phone signal in remote areas and so phone contact should not be relied upon. You should make sure you let someone at your institute or at home know where you are going, and what time you expect to return. Make sure your ‘buddy’ knows what to do if they do not hear back from you within the agreed time-frame. You should have the proper equipment for working in all weather conditions. Temperatures are a lot cooler on the hill tops and so you should take warm clothing, gloves, hat, and plenty of food. Also remember to pack your sunblock!
This information is provided for guidance only. Students undertaking field work should adhere to the health and safety regulations of their institution.