Ancient Estates of the Peak

Last Saturday was a really special day when we led a walk for The Peacock Hotel in Rowsley through the two ancient estates of Chatsworth and Haddon. In addition to enjoying stunning scenery throughout the guided walk, customers learned about … Continue reading Ancient Estates of the Peak

Fun with environmental learning in the Peak District

I have recently got back from the Mountain Training Association national conference which this year was in the Peak District. During the weekend there were a range of workshops to choose from and I was drawn towards the ‘Environmental Learning Made Easy’ session which was delivered by Jim Langley of Nature’s Work. This proved to be an excellent choice – which is why I want to share my experiences with you in my Countryside Blog. The workshop was aimed at introducing Learning Cards to help children to learn through outdoor activities. The fact that all of us who completed the … Continue reading Fun with environmental learning in the Peak District

An industrial site in a place of beauty!

A cement factory might be an unexpected thing to write about in a countryside blog, but if you have ever been walking in the Hope Valley area of the Peak District, you will have seen the Lafarge cement works which forms a dominant feature in the landscape. The factory is visible from the whole of ‘The Great Ridge’ – one of the most popular walks in the Dark Peak. The initial reaction that most people have when seeing it for the first time is ‘what an eyesore in a beautiful valley’. Admittedly it is a bit ugly, but there is a lot … Continue reading An industrial site in a place of beauty!

Dew Ponds of the White Peak

Dew ponds are a familiar sight to anyone who walks regularly in the White Peak area of the Peak District.  They were originally formed to provide a water source to farm animals in areas where water was not present naturally.  It is believed that they took their name, not from the fact that they collected the dew, but from a Victorian pond maker called Mr Dew. During the 70s and early 80s it is possible that as many as 50% of our dew ponds were lost due to infills and neglect.  Dew ponds are important habitats for wildlife.  In particular the great … Continue reading Dew Ponds of the White Peak

Heather Burning

They have started burning the heather on the peakland moors.  It has been customary for centuries to burn small patches of heather during the early part of the year.  This started in the days when grouse shooting was important to the local economy.  To thrive, Red Grouse need a mixture of different heights of heather and low growing plants.  They nest in the older deep heather and feed on the new shoots of young heather.  As these birds never travel very far from their birth place, the buring of heather in small patches ensures that they always have the right mixture of … Continue reading Heather Burning

Major conservation work on Kinder Scout

Kinder Scout is one of the most iconic landscapes in the Peak District because of its vast open moorland, the wildlife that it is home to and because it was the setting for the Mass Trespass in 1932.  However, it is also one of the most damaged areas of moorland in the UK and its future is in jeopardy as a result of catastrophic wildlfires, a long history of overgrazing, air pollution and the routes that thousands of visitors have taken.  There are currently proposals for a major programme of conservation work to restore the area so that it can … Continue reading Major conservation work on Kinder Scout

Moorland drying out

The recent warm, dry weather has been great for walking, but is not so good for the delicate ecosystems of our high moorlands.  Peat bogs on high moorland areas such as Kinder Scout and Bleaklow are becoming really dry.  Areas of peat are more prone to erosion when they dried out, releasing carbon dioxide into the atmosphere and resulting in a reduction in vegetation.  There is also the increased risk of fire.  A lot of work has been done in recent years by organisations such as the Moors for the Future Partnership in blocking gullies and restoring vegetation in an … Continue reading Moorland drying out