Path restoration protects vital Moorlands

17 October 2014

Visitors to one of the Peak District’s most stunning upland viewpoints will be able to enjoy a newly-restored footpath by next Spring.

The popular Whinston Lee Tor permissive path on Moscar Moor, which stretches along Derwent Edge overlooking Ladybower Reservoir, is to be resurfaced with a mixture of gritstone aggregate and pitching stone starting in mid-October.

The landowner and farming tenant have commissioned the Moors for the Future Partnership to manage the work, funded by Natural England’s Higher Level Stewardship scheme.

It is part of a larger Private Lands Project in which increasing numbers of moorland-owners and farmers are working together with Moors for the Future and Natural England to restore Sites of Special Scientific Interest to favourable condition.

Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs) are designated for their special vegetation and wildlife, and the aim of path restoration is to protect the natural habitats surrounding the route from erosion and disturbance.

Matthew Scott-Campbell, who manages the Private Lands Project, said: “Whinston Lee Tor affords magnificent views over the countryside, and it’s great that the landowner and tenant provide this path so that people can get out and enjoy it, but its wildlife habitats need to be protected from the inevitable wear and tear that this brings.

“We’re glad to be working with the landowner, tenant and Natural England to bring this 2,500-metre stretch up to a condition that will enable people to continue to enjoy these magnificent landscapes while minimising the environmental damage.”

Ginny Hinton, Natural England Team Leader, East Midlands said “It’s great that one project can provide many benefits; repair of important peat and vegetation, less disturbance for wildlife, a great path for walkers and a better landscape without scars.” 

The partnership is also hoping a second highly-popular route across Moscar Moor can be restored this winter – the Cutthroat Track bridleway. As this is a public right of way, it will require a public consultation with recreational users and other interested parties before work can go ahead.

On the public Bridleway the work is expected to be funded by Derbyshire County Council. The aim is to provide a hard-wearing, natural-looking track tailored for the needs of a range of users that will help protect its SSSI and Special Area of Conservation habitats for many years to come.

“This is another route that is suffering from its popularity,” said Matthew. “People inevitably try to avoid the poor surfaces, widening the route up to 10 metres in some parts which damages plants and disturbs wildlife.
 
“Together we will be seeking input into the design to the proposed scheme for a 1,500-metre stretch to be resurfaced and strengthened.

“This will be achieved mainly using materials from the route and through the provision of an effective system to channel water off the path onto the moor.”
 

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