There is still much that we don’t know about the nature, history and economy of the North Pennines.
This page provides a summary of our work in this area during the 2013-14 financial year.
There are many organisations working to improve our collective knowledge and the AONB Partnership Staff Unit has begun to increase its role in gathering the information and data which will lead to better decision making and improved use of resources.
- Outstanding work on increasing our knowledge of peatlands has continued, monitoring the hydrological impact of bare peat restoration, vegetation, the impact of plastic mesh for track construction and erosion rates/sediment loss from peatland restoration.
- Extensive work commissioned by Natural England led to the production of a report on the hay meadows of Upper Teesdale.
Some of our achievements this year:
Work during the year, as part of our Peatland Programme, has included:
- Continuing hydrological monitoring of the bare peat restoration and control sites at Killhope with Durham University and Northumbrian Water.
- Vegetation monitoring of four sites covering 100 plots.
- Continuing the Tracks on Blanket Peat project with the AONB Partnership coordinating activities by the University of Leeds, Natural England and the Moorland Association. A PhD student has installed long-term continuous monitoring instrument and the Moorland Association is leading on providing labour and vehicles to test the tracks. In spring 2014, the track will begin to be used under a variety of real-life usage scenarios.
- One of our original 2010 research projects has been extended several times but is now due to finish – ‘Do our restoration techniques reduce erosion rates and sediment loss?’ Jeff Warburton (Durham University) has monitored the effects of restoration at the Flow Moss site. Two MSc theses have been produced and a final report will summarise the findings.
- Under contract to Natural England, all available botanical data for upland hay meadows in Upper Teesdale was gathered and related to management information. Repeat surveys of the same meadows were examined to see whether any meaningful comparisons could be made.
- Ninety-eight pairs of meadows were identified with a comparable baseline survey and latest survey. The analysis identified major declines in botanical quality in Upper Teesdale hay meadows over the past 20-30 years.
- The full report has been published as Natural England Commissioned Report NECR139 and can be downloaded at: http://publications.naturalengland.org.uk/publication/6301646967537664?category=10006