In 2013 the National Trust set out an aspirational and overarching vision for the Dark Peak estate’s SSSI moorlands in the High Peak Moors Vision (HPMV). Natural England has worked in partnership with the National Trust for many years and this Long Term Plan (LTP) takes an Outcomes Approach to implementing the Vision on Derwent & Howden Moor. The ‘High Peak Estate Guiding Principles’ are an integral part of the LTP. The Trust has moved away from the use of burning to manage heather in favour of cutting as part of their Vision.
The LTPs are divided into North, Middle and South hefts due to the size of the moor. This summary considers the Moor as a whole.
Derwent and Howden Moor covers a 23 km2 (2,323ha) area above the Upper Derwent Valley. The Middle heft comprises 908 ha between Abbey Clough in the south, and Cranberry Clough/ Bull Clough to Margery Hill in the north. The Northern heft covers 793ha and the Southern heft 622ha.
Derwent and Howden Moor was managed under the North Peak Environmentally Sensitive Areas Scheme (ESA) and more latterly under the Higher Level Stewardship Scheme (HLS). There have been extensive rewetting works undertaken with gully blocking at Robin Hood’s Moss, Stainery Clough and Coldwell Clough. The Derwent Edge footpath from Back Tor to Salt Cellar has been revegetated using heather brash and seed. Between 1989 and 2000 the Middle heft was subject to extensive purple moor grass (Molinia) reversion trials. Since 2013, in addition to the HLS agreement, the Clough Woodlands Project has been funded through the English Woodlands Grants Scheme (eWGS) to establish clough woodland in selected areas around the edges of the moor.
The Long Term Plans for Derwent and Howden continue the restoration, taking an Outcomes Approach to delivering multiple benefits, with the aim of moving towards good quality, functioning blanket bog, and other moorland habitats, at the heart of the plan. The plan includes outcomes for biodiversity, carbon storage, water quality, flood management, upland bird populations, the grouse shooting interest, farming enterprise, wildfire risk mitigation, landscape and recreation, and cultural heritage. There is no burning on deep peat included in the Plan. Monitoring is an integral part of the plan to inform the adaptive management and assess progression on the trajectory to favourable condition.