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The conflicts and management issues in Kinder Scout in the Peak District National Park

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Introduction

The conflicts and management issues in Kinder Scout in the Peak District National Park Kinder Scout is one of the highest peaks of the Southern Pennines in Britain. It is the first stage of the Pennine Way and is known as Dark Peak due to its wild open moorland. It is about 600m above sea level and its moorland environment is increasingly threatened by its proximity to large cities. The heather moorland is stunning during summer providing an amazing contrast to its barren winter landscape. Annual precipitation is about 1550mm. In winter, this falls mainly as snow. Kinder Scout suffers very strong winds with an average winter temperature of less than 0?C. Blanket peat covers the whole Kinder Scout area. The moorland divides into two, the plateau blanket bogs, where the peat is deepest, and surrounding hillsides. Cotton grass, crowberry and bilberry dominate the blanket bog, although heather is also found. ...read more.

Middle

Without management, the area would revert to scrub and, at lower altitudes, oak woodland would establish. Kinder Scout lies between Manchester and Sheffield and suffers severe atmospheric pollution. Sphagnum moss and other bog plants cannot tolerate high levels of SO2 or oxides of nitrogen. These are brought to moorlands as acid rain. Pollution levels are too high for the moss to re-establish itself. The number of sheep on Kinder and Beaklow increased from 17,000 in 1914 to 60,000 in 1970 when the government introduced subsidies paid to farmers based on the number of sheep kept. Lack of fences and shepherding have led to sheep just wandering around, many of these sheep being breeding ewes which are selective in their grazing, choosing heather and bilberry rather than other species. This has increased the spread of moorland grasses at the expense of other, more valuable shrubs. The 30% loss of heather in the Peak District last century could be attributed to overgrazing by sheep. ...read more.

Conclusion

The National Trust bought Kinder Scout in 1982. The main objectives of their management plan were: * to preserve and enhance the natural beauty of the area; * to halt, if possible, the moorland erosion; * to continue to provide access for the public whilst acknowledging the fragility of the area. They have attempted to achieve these objectives by sheep grazing controls, ie 2000 sheep limit, fencing and walls, revegetation by the spreading of seeds, reducing acidity of soil and adding nutrients with lime spreading. The building of dams and planting of cotton grass and turf laying also helps peat to establish. There has been much footpath repair, embedding rocks to create hard wearing paths, floating paths in badly drained areas involving the laying of matting and covering it with boulders, gritstone and flagstones to provide paths across waterlogged peat. In 1999, 1000 tonnes of flagstones were used to repair 25km of footpath. Trained wardens in certain areas work with fire stations to devise plans and develop fire warning systems and better education for the public, for example information leaflets. ...read more.

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