Natural England - Dark Peak NIA

Dark Peak NIA

NIA grant awarded: £771,064
Additional resources provided by this NIA: £2,561,263

The Dark Peak NIA covers 25,000 hectares of the Peak District National Park, including a dramatic landscape of upland habitats.

Geographical boundary of Dark Peak NIA

Dark Peak NIA Partnership map
click image for larger map (PDF)

However, priority species continue to decline and degradation of habitats has reduced the wildlife and other public benefits this landscape should deliver. For example, continuing erosion of moorland and peat bogs, poorly managed and declining woodland, and loss of wildflower meadows. At the same time, although a predominantly rural area, the National Park is surrounded by urban conurbations and receives over 22 million day visits annually.

The first year

Progress from year one of the NIA can be found in this summary: (60kb)pdf document.


The NIA is a partnership of ten varied organisations with a strong track record of delivery for people and wildlife - private business and statutory bodies, local authorities and user representative groups, and the voluntary sector – namely, the RSPB, Sheffield City Council, Moors for the Future, United Utilities, Sheffield Wildlife Trust, Peak District National Park Authority, British Mountaineering Council, National Trust, National Trust Marsden and Natural England.


Our vision is long-term and will build a thriving partnership that marries expert conservation with widely enabled access and participation. The partnership will lead the NIA programme whilst at the same time working closely with a wide group of stakeholders representing access, wildlife, heritage and community interests.

Together we will facilitate the development of long-term landscape-scale masterplans for the area, through robust stakeholder engagement, and implement them through the NIA, and other concurrent and future programmes.

Public participation will occur at all levels from ‘design to delivery’, and will include active volunteering programmes, complimenting existing engagement and life-long learning already being delivered by the partner organisations.


The Dark Peak NIA has five objectives involving blanket bog, heathland, grassland, woodland and access and recreation which all our projects work towards.

Project work during 2012-2015 and subsequent land management will make the core, designated moorlands (across over 5,800 hectares) as robust and healthy as possible to maximise their habitat quality and ecosystem service delivery, especially improved carbon storage, water quality, and resilience to climate change.

The core wildlife areas will be increased and buffered through restoration and creation of nearly 2,100 hectares of heathland at the blanket bog edge, and over 200 hectares of newly created native woodland will act as ecological corridors and ‘stepping stones’ between existing wildlife sites and moorland and surrounding farmland.

Over 60 hectares of new wildlife rich grasslands will be restored adjacent to SSSI moorlands, reconnecting the historic wildlife linkages between moor and farmland and providing a dynamic, landscape scale habitat mosaic.

Improvements to ‘people corridors’ – 20km of better access routes that link the surrounding urban populations into these nature rich places – combined with active participation, such as volunteering, will connect people with wildlife in new ways.

By 2020, priority species will be increasing, habitats will be better adapted to climate change and ecosystem services greatly enhanced, benefiting more people than ever before in a landscape rich in nature.


Over the months the partners have started work towards the five objectives.

Grassland and heathland work has been carried out at Dovestone, Eastern Moors, Blacka Moor and Longshaw. This has included the collecting and spreading of seeds by volunteers.

Woodland thinning work has been carried out at North Lees Estate and permissions are being sought for woodland work in Burbage.

Consultations have been ongoing regarding access improvements around the Eastern Moors with work due to start soon. We have also set up a monitoring group and have carried out baseline surveys for heath and grassland.

Working alongside a Sheffield University PHD student we are carrying out visitor surveys, the first of which are complete, with more due in 2013. As a partnership we have been seeking opportunities to work with private landowners and stakeholders in the Dark Peak, something that we are keen to continue.

Further information

For further information contact Sarah Proctor;