Upland Heathlands

Upland heathlands can be found on the tops of the fells in the Yorkshire Dales National Park often in a transition between acid grassland on the slopes and blanket bog on the highest flattest areas where there is deeper peat. Dry heaths are usually dominated by heather. This is particularly the case on the intensively managed grouse moors, where burning to maintain a young vigorous growth and a patchwork of age diversity has enabled heather to become dominant at the expense of the less tolerant species. Occasionally bilberry replaces heather particularly in rocky screes and gritstone edges. On some of the higher altitude moors cowberry and crowberry may be found. Wet heaths are characterised by the abundance of purple moor grass together with cross-leaved heath, other dwarf shrubs and bog-mosses.

At risk?

Wet heaths are very rare in the Dales and are at the southern and eastern edge of their range in Britain. Upland heath is of high biodiversity value. Consequently, this habitat continues to be listed on the UK list of priority habitats for biodiversity action.

There is a freshness and at times a undefineable fragrance to the air at high altitude in the Pennines. Joan E. Duncan & R.W.Robson

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