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 Ashop 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.
Ashop Moor covers an area of 1,639 ha and has been has been managed under the North Peak Environmentally Sensitive Areas Scheme (ESA) and more latterly under the Higher Level Stewardship Scheme (HLS). Extensive works have been undertaken to restore the blanket bog, including rewetting work with gully blocking around the Featherbed Moss peat dome, as a priority to curb gullying and raise the water table. Since 2013, in addition to the HLS agreement, the Clough Woodlands Project has been funded through the English Woodlands Grant Scheme (eWGS) to establish clough woodland in selected areas around the edges of the moor.
The LTP continues 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.