Peak District Day Trip

Demonstrating a pressurised diesel burner on a wet hill
Demonstrating a pressurised diesel burner on a wet hill

There was an early start to the Peak District on Friday for some work with the Heather Trust. The 6:15 train from Dumfries is something like the waiting room for the afterlife, populated by lost souls who fell once fell asleep on a train in Glasgow and then slipped between the seats when the cleaners came round. Now conscious and owl-eyed, they populate the two carriages like damned spirits, doomed to shuttle eternally between Gretna and Sanquhar.

The miserable trip was very much worth it, however, as it meant a morning spent with Geoff Eyre on his moorland near Edale. Geoff is something of a pioneer when it comes to moorland management, and although his extraordinary methods provoke a variety of reactions from conservationists and land managers, there’s no denying that he is a man who knows how to create quality moorland habitat. Turning white, uninteresting molinia grass into moorland populated by blue hares, golden plover (and even black grouse), the results of Geoff’s work are there for all to see. From my perspective, heather moorland is so much on the back foot in Britain that it’s wholly perverse to fret about methodologies. If you can turn white hills into black hills with little in the way of collateral damage, why don’t you get on with it?

The Peak District is currently the location of a new Heather Trust study into the effects of heather beetle, so while my trip was a bit of a whistle-stop tour, there will be more to come on a variety of bits and pieces relating to the area.


One thought on “Peak District Day Trip

  1. Hi Patrick,

    Please find my comments on this area which I recently posted on RP and PS websites. I spoke with several locals/birders in this area and they all reinforced my major concerns, etc.
    Did you see any raptors on your visit? Red Grouse were certainly plenty.

    Peak District National Park – an almost Raptorless experience!!

    One month ago my wife I spent several days in stunning weather/scenery walking and driving around Dark Peak and surrounding areas.

    Day 1 – Digley Reservoir. A single Buzzard being mobbed by 2 crows.
    Day 2 – Derwent Reservoir, etc. Almost a whole day spent in this area and not a single raptor seen. Highlights of that day included 12 Whooper swans,a single treecreeper and a day flying Pipistrelle bat.
    Day 3 – Castleton and Edale area – not a single raptor seen. Later in the day we headed towards the outshirts of Sheffield and recorded 2 Kestrels.
    Over the years I’ve read several reports/articles highlighting problems of persecution in this area – seeing it for myself really brought the reality home – I’d like to ask the question – what is Natural England doing to try and rectify this problem?

    This is not a balanced moorland landscape!!!!!

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