Conservation at Work

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Who We Are

Moorland Association members are responsible for over a million acres of the moorlands of England and Wales. This includes 860,000 acres of upland heather representing almost all of this precious habitat south of the Scottish Border.  The Moorland Association was set up in 1986 to tackle serious declines in the treasured landscapes, dating back to the Second World War.

A staggering 20 per cent of the English and Welsh upland heath had been lost to over-grazing, afforestation, the spread of bracken and general neglect. We are proud of our success in reversing the alarming deterioration.

Lost heather moorland to the left of the fence line.

Lost heather moorland to the left of the fence line.

Remarkably, over the last 25 years, grouse moor owners have regenerated and recovered 217,000 acres, 57,000 of the in the last decade, smashing the Government’s 2010 conservation target by 170 per cent. This work continues working towards 2020 targets.

With the increasing threats of climate change, and a better understanding of the importance of peat as a carbon store, MA members are instrumental in finding innovative ways of improving the health of peat for carbon and water quality.

Working closely with Defra, Natural England, national wildlife charities, conservation trusts and leading countryside organisations, the association lobbies for legislation and actions which protect and preserve the moors and habitats of some of our most precious wildlife.

As well as advising Government, and raising the profile of a considerable conservation and economic commitment, we help members manage their moors so they continue to do well for the benefit of all who depend on them and who love the areas of wilderness and beauty.

The Moorland Association is a registered company limited by guarantee (No. 8977402).  Its objective is to encourage the conservation of heather moorland in England and Wales for everyone to enjoy by conserving and promoting:

  • red grouse and their habitat
  • ecology and natural beauty
  • farming best practice
  • awareness of the importance of the moors
  • the impact of the moors on the local economy
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Did You Know?

75% of of the world’s remaining heather moorland is found in Britain – but this area declined alarmingly over the latter part of the last century. The Moorland Association was set up in 1986 to coordinate the efforts of moorland owners and managers to halt this loss, particularly in England and Wales.

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Read our News

Regional moorland groups step up conservation awareness – for peat’s sake The Moorland Association warmly welcomes the news that regional moorland groups are boosting awareness of ongoing peatland restoration work across the North of England. As summer approaches and the weather improves more families venture out to the countryside. Gamekeepers from a variety of regional moorland groups are now encouraging the public to learn more about […]

Dr. Dick Potts – (1939-2017)   The Moorland Association marks the very sad death of former Director General and Director of Research of GWCT, Dick Potts.  Dick Potts was born in 1939 to a farming family in North Yorkshire. From an early age, he took a keen interest in wildlife and he studied zoology at Durham University, where he specialised […]

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