Bowes Moor SSSI is a regulated pasture, which means that the ‘sod’ is owned by the stint holders of the common. There are seven active stint holders / graziers on the common and one sporting owner who owns the shooting rights. Bowes Moor comprises primarily an extensive area of active blanket bog with localised areas of upland dry heath.
Bowes Moor entered into a Countryside Stewardship (CS) agreement, commencing January 2018 and the management of this agreement is overseen by the Bowes Forum that brings together all interested parties. As part of the CS agreement, Natural England produced a restoration plan for 10 years that details sustainable stocking levels, cessation of rotational burning on the blanket bog and an extensive programme of grip blocking and bare peat restoration work. These measures should all help to restore the hydrological integrity of the bog and by reducing the grazing pressure particularly during the winter months and ceasing foddering on the moor, this should help to restore the hummock and hollow structure of the bog and enable the diversity of the bog vegetation to expand. Further restoration measures such as cutting or burning have not been agreed as part of the plan, as the areas of dry modified bog are very limited across the site and these areas will not be addressed until the structure of the active bog and grass dominated bog is recovering. A simplified HRA was undertaken focusing on the CS agreement (including the restoration plan). As part of the process, the underlying consents permitting rotational burning on the bog were terminated.