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 Europe’s remaining upland heather moorland is found in the UK – 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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Moorland Association vice-chairman on BBC Radio 4 Today The curlew is one of the UK’s most endangered bird species. Yet it is thriving on grouse moors thanks to skilled land management. Tom Orde-Powlett, Moorland Association vice-chairman and land manager at Bolton Castle estate explains on Radio 4’s Today programme why the curlew is doing so well on heather moorland.

Key scientific reports shine new light on value of heather burning A dossier of new evidence on peatland protection has highlighted a raft of scientific findings that could help shape future conservation of some of the UK’s most iconic landscapes. New research on key issues including carbon storage, water quality, biodiversity and wildfire reveals that conclusions drawn from previous science are now out of date and […]

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