The wheels are in motion to bring the breath-taking beauty of the Peak District and South Pennine moors to the people, allowing them to step onto a virtual peat bog without having to get their boots wet!

visitors learning about bogs with the moors for the future partnership at Edale Country Day

The Moors for the Future Partnership is working on the first ever “moor in a van” – a Bogtastic mobile exhibition vehicle - welcoming visitors in city and town centres across the Peak District and South Pennines to experience the sights, sounds and even the smells of our iconic uplands.  The partnership hopes to inspire as many people as possible to value and love their local moors.

As well as the van, the partnership is exploring new ways to bring the Bogtastic experience to key locations across the area by developing alternatives to traditional noticeboards. The special interpretation will give people the chance to get a hands-on understanding of the vitally important landscape on their doorstep and the opportunity to feel the sensation of Sphagnum moss, a vital bog plant that can hold up to 20 times its own weight in water.

Across vast areas of the Peak District and South Pennine uplands, Sphagnum mosses have been killed off by pollution from the industrial revolution and wildfire, leaving vulnerable peat exposed. These moorlands are home to unique and iconic wildlife including curlew, golden plover, short-eared owl and mountain hare, as well as providing drinking water to millions of people across the UK. Healthy peat moors can also help to reduce flooding in local at-risk towns and villages and contribute to reducing the effects of climate change by storing carbon.

The contract for the innovative project was awarded to local firm FDA Design from Hathersage. Subcontractors will supply a custom-built van, design and construct a novel audio-visual experience for inside the vehicle and work on the interpretation panels.

Rebecca Cassidy, senior communications officer at Moors for the Future Partnership – based in Edale - said: “The aim of the campaign is to provide inspiration to people from all walks of life to understand, enjoy, and protect the unique habitat of blanket bog across the South Pennines, including areas of the Peak District National Park, Yorkshire, Cheshire, Staffordshire and Greater Manchester.

“We want to increase understanding of the benefits of our iconic moorland including for wildlife, as a source of drinking water for millions of people, helping to stop flooding into local, high-risk towns, and a major store of carbon to tackle climate change.  We need people to understand the fragility of our uplands, especially their vulnerability to wildfire, so that we can ensure these unique landscapes are protected for the benefit of generations to come.”

Chris Dean, head of programme delivery added: “The Moors for the Future Partnership has a long track record in producing innovative and award-winning communications, from our Paws on the Moors campaign that won an award from the Kennel Club, to the first ever moorland citizen science project, which has been lauded by the Europarc federation. Our ground-breaking Bogtastic campaign will bring the moors to people in towns and cities in the Peak District and South Pennines, inspiring them about the beauty and importance of the uplands in the UK’s original national park.”

The Bogtastic van will be ready to hit the road later this year and will be travelling across the whole of the Peak District and South Pennines.

The campaign is part of the Moors for the Future Partnership’s MoorLIFE 2020 project, funded by the EU LIFE programme and co-financed by Severn Trent Water, Yorkshire Water and United Utilities.