Alpine Blue-sowthistle and the challenge of upland management

The extremely rare Alpine Blue-sowthistle is clinging on at only four sites in the mountains of Scotland. Michael Scott recalls his search for this rarity and stresses how there is little hope for the spread of the species as long as intense grazing pressures persist in the uplands. Aline Finger describes the implications of such a

The end of feral wallabies in the Peak District

Alien species are of considerable conservation concern because of the impact some of them have on other fauna and flora. Among mammals in Britain, Grey Squirrels Sciurus carolinensis, American Mink Neovison vison and Reeve's Muntjac Muntiacus reevesi are major problem species. Some aliens, though, seem relatively benign, and they do not always become pests. The Red-necked Wallaby Macropus ruforiseus seems, in Europe at

The Upper Teesdale Assemblage of rare plants in decline

During the discovery and naming of the plants in the British Isles in the 18th and 19th centuries, botanists became aware of a small number of localities that were particularly rich in rare species. These remarkable areas include Upper Teesdale in northern England, Ben Lawers in the Central Highlands of Scotland, the Burren, Co. Clare,

Deer in the Peak District and its urban fringe

Studies of British deer populations began in earnest with the problems of over-population of Red Deer Cervus elaphus in the Highlands and Islands. However, in recent decade, the issue of rapidly expanding populations of deer in Great Britain has received much attention. 

The south-west Dartmoor downs

'Carex montana… Bickleigh Down; scattered over a considerable portion of the common (several acres), and associated with its allies, C. pilulifera and C.praecox [caryophyllea], as well as with… Viola lactea… destroyed by the cultivation of the down about 1878' With this record, the great Plymouth botanist T R Archer Briggs added a highly significant species both to his own Flora of

Black Grouse recovery in northern England

The Black Grouse Tetrao tetrix is one of our most charismatic upland birds and is famous for its 'lekking' behaviour, in which the males gather at traditional sites at dawn and, with elaborate posturing and vocalisation, challenge each other with the purpose of attracting females. 

The flowering of Cross Fell: montane vegetation and foot-and-mouth

Facing each other across across the Eden valley, the gentle rounded outlines of the north Pennines contrast starkly with the frowning cliffs and steep-sided valleys of the Lakeland hills to the west. Whilst Lakeland hills are a confused jumble of metamorphic and igneous rocks, deeply scored by glacial action, the north Pennines are an essentially

The state of upland hay meadows in the North Pennines

This article summarises the results of three years of intensive survey work and study of upland hay meadows in the North Pennines. The most striking findings are that these meadows are now in worse shape than previously thought, the best meadows are more variable in character than we thought, and there are many aspects of

Moor House: the history and relevance of a National Nature Reserve

In the introduction to his classic Mountains and Moorlands, W H Pearsall (1950) reminds us that away from the ordered landscapes of the lowlands 'is another Britain, to many of us the better half, a land of mountains and moorlands and of sun and cloud… It lies now, as always beyond the margins of our industrial and

Predation and the profitability of grouse moors

The closure of many grouse moors, particularly in Scotland, is of concern to both hunters and conservationists. Habitat management for the shooting of Red Grouse Lagopus lagopus scoticus maintains roughly half of the heather moorland in Britain in a productive state which offers more benefits to conserving wildlife than turning the land over to sheep, deer or forestry

The burning of uplands and its effect on wildlife

A large moorland fire can be an alarming sight, and no less so after it is out, when all that remains is charred vegetation, dusty ash and often an apprently devasted landscape. It is not surprising, therefore, that many people question the wisdom of deliberately burning our uplands for management purposes. 

Mountain Hares in the Peak District

The Mountain Hare Lepus timidus is probably our only native lagomorph; the Rabbit Oryctolagus cuniculus was surely introduced by the Normans, while the Brown Hare Lepus europaeus is probably a Celtic introduction (Yalden 1999).

Gilfach – an upland farm and nature reserve

The high hills of north Radnorshire rise mid-way between the border town of Knighton, which straddles Offa's Dyke, and the coast just south of Aberystwyth. They lies close to the geographical centre of Wales, but can hardly be described as its beating heart. 

The Welsh uplands – past, present and future

During, and immediately after, the recent foot-and-mouth outbreak, there was concern for the state of the Welsh uplands and the influence of grazing in maintaining 'traditional' landscapes and species. 

Brecon Beacons National Park

The Brecon Beacons National Park was the tenth National Park to be declared, in 1957. Indeed, three decades were to pass before there was an addition to the list, when the Broad's Authority, in effect another National Park Body, was confirmed in 1989. Embracing some 1,351km2 in the counties of Brecknock, Carmarthen and Gwent, the Brecon

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