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National Trust Start Work to Create a Haven for Nature

National Trust rangers, volunteers, contractors and students from Hope Valley Pathways have started work to create a haven for nature at Dalehead near Edale. Nestled in the shadow of iconic Peak District landmarks of Kinder Scout and Mam Tor, teams have been planting trees and making other changes to create the conditions needed to start the process.

The 123-hectare site, which is around the size of 150 international football pitches, will demonstrate different techniques for caring for the landscape which benefit wildlife, whilst also supporting adaptation to a changing climate.

This conservation work will create more homes for birds like barn owls and tawny owls, cuckoo, woodcock, redstart and tree pipit, as well as small mammals such as voles and hedgehogs and insects like bees, butterflies and moths. It will create a mosaic of different habitats from woodland to grassland where wildflowers, fungi, scrub, like holly and gorse, and native trees will grow.

The work will also help to improve the health of the soil encouraging a variety of plants to grow, creating a better diet for grazing animals. This will help to capture carbon, whilst making the land more resilient to flooding and drought.

So far, the teams have planted native trees and shrubs such as oak, alder, birch, hawthorn, and rowan. Many of these trees have been planted in specially built ‘exclosures’ designed to protect young trees from grazing animals without the need for plastic tree guards. This will eventually create wood pasture which will benefit grazing animals in several ways, including by providing shade and shelter.

It’s not just people who’ve been hard at work; a small herd of cows have played their part too. They wouldn’t know it, but as they eat and move around, they’re helping to break up the ground and add natural fertiliser, creating the right conditions for trees, flowers and grasses to grow.

The next stage of the work will see wetland areas being established, which will help to attract birds like willow warblers, along with a variety of aquatic insects like dragonflies. The team will also be increasing the number of routes people can walk in the area and reopening a nature trail.

As the project develops, the National Trust are expecting to learn and share the knowledge they gain to help tenant farmers and other landowners explore different ways to manage the land for nature and quality food production.

The work at Dalehead has been funded by HSBC UK, Severn Trent Water, The National Trust’s Plant a Tree campaign, the Peak District National Park’s Grow Back Greener programme, and supported by The Woodland Trust.

Find out more about the project at


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