A team of organisations that helps beloved landscapes at the heart of the UK is celebrating its 15th anniversary with 15 unique events.

The Moors for the Future Partnership commemorates its crystal anniversary this month but is extending celebrations throughout 2018.

A special event took place in Edale on Friday 16th February to kick start the ‘15 for 15’ aspiration. VIP guests included the High Peak’s MP, Ruth George, and award-winning local folk singer, Bella Hardy.

A joint effort

A number of organisations make up the Moors for the Future Partnership – led by the Peak District National Park Authority. They work together to help conserve iconic places such as Kinder Scout, Saddleworth and Marsden moors.

These vast, open landscapes are sandwiched between major cities including Manchester, Sheffield and Leeds. The moors were severely damaged after decades of pollution from these industrial hubs, and wild fires. They were black and degraded, with very little life or colour.

It is important to look after the moors: they are made up of active blanket bogs, a special home to unique wildlife including mountain hare, curlew, lapwing, golden plover... even lizards and snakes!

Healthy blanket bogs are also valuable to humans. They help to soak up water when it rains, meaning there's less chance of flooding in local communities. A tiny bog moss called sphagnum improves the quality of our tap water because it filters rainwater before it flows to the reservoirs.

Bogtastic birthday

To get anniversary celebrations underway in style, the event in Edale saw the launch of the Partnership’s state-of-the-art Bogtastic van.

The novel vehicle is set to inspire people about the moors and how they can help to look after them. It is part of a project called MoorLIFE 2020. Funding for the project comes from the EU LIFE programme, United Utilities, Severn Trent Water, Yorkshire Water and the Peak District National Park Authority.

The Bogtastic van is set to travel across the Peak District National Park and South Pennines to spread the word about the importance of healthy moorlands. Members of the public will get the chance to experience the sights, sounds, smells and textures of the moors.

At the event, Ruth George pulled the ribbon to officially open the van. Bella Hardy performed her song Peak Rhapsody, which honours the area’s landscape.

Children from Edale CE Primary School were the first passengers on board the vehicle. They enjoyed a video showing the moors through the seasons, and a wobbly 'bog floor.'

Change is clear

Sarah Fowler is the Chief Executive of Peak District National Park Authority. She commented: “The difference to the local moors since the Partnership began is clear; you can see the change with your own eyes. It goes to show the huge benefit that working in partnership can have for the majestic countryside of the Peak District National Park, and beyond its borders too.”

Chris Dean, Head of Programme Delivery at the Moors for the Future Partnership said: “Since day one, the partnership has grown both in people-power and the area it covers. Over the last 15 years, the passionate and skilled team has pushed the boundaries to do vital conservation and research works.

“Our vast ‘patch’ of remote moorland stretches all the way from Kinder Scout in the south, to the River Aire in the north. It is fantastic and emotional to see the difference we’ve made by working as one big team. I’m delighted that the team’s achievements have been commemorated over the years with several prestigious award wins.”

The Moors for the Future Partnership was established in 2003 with a grant from Heritage Lottery Fund. Since then, it has worked to transform degraded moors equalling the size of almost 3,000 football pitches.

'Proud to be involved'

Ruth George, High Peak MP: “I live in the High Peak and have done for about 30 years. I love bringing my family and my children up onto the local moors. I know – from seeing the way that the Moors for the Future Partnership has really enhanced the Kinder Scout area where so many people go – just how important it is, not just for the environment, but for all of our enjoyment of the Peak District. It’s brilliant that the Bogtastic van can take that experience out to the cities and out of High Peak to sell our area and to sell the really rewarding experience that people get from visiting the moors here!”

David Chapman, Chair, Moors for the Future Partnership and Deputy Chair of the Peak District National Park Authority: “My role holds particular significance for me, having been raised in Edale and seeing from a very early age the devastation caused to the uplands around my valley by nearly two hundred years of industrial pollution. To witness the incredible improvements made to these moorlands over the past 15 years by this Partnership is truly staggering and I commend the work of everyone involved. The 15th anniversary is a cause for celebration but is only the start of a long journey. We can be very confident that this great project is in the right hands.”

Geoff Nickolds, Committee Member for HLF East Midlands. He is the former Deputy Chair of the Peak District National Park Authority, and former Chair of the Moors for the Future Partnership. Geoff said: “This partnership is a brilliant example of the lasting, long-term impact that National Lottery funding can have on our heritage. I’m extremely proud to have been involved in this project, both at the Partnership and at the Heritage Lottery Fund, which was able to kick-start this project back in 2003. I’d like to congratulate all those involved and to thank the National Lottery players who helped to make it possible.”

15 for 15 – stay social

Keep your eyes peeled on social media to stay up-to-date on the Bogtastic van’s calendar, and exciting plans to commemorate our 15th anniversary: #Bogtastic #MFFP15

Twitter: @moorsforfuture
Facebook: Moors for the Future
Instagram: moorsforthefuture

Here’s to the next 15 years and more!