MoorLIFE 2020

Working together to bring life back to the South Pennine Moors Special Area of Conservation

This ambitious five-year project is investing €16 million to protect extensive areas of internationally important blanket bog

The project is funded by the EU LIFE programme and co-financed by Severn Trent, Yorkshire Water and United Utilities

The project will protect the health of 95 square kilometres of active blanket bog  


Our conservation work is:

  • stabilising and revegetating bare peat
  • installing mini-dams in drainage channels to rewet the blanket bog
  • tackling areas of over-dominant plant species like heather by cutting dense areas
  • planting sphagnum moss, a major component of blanket bog
  • controlling invasive species like rhododendron
  • working with land managers to share best practice

Keep up to date with the latest news and updates about the MoorLIFE 2020 project.

MoorLIFE 2020 conservation works

Read more about the conservation work being undertaken as part of the MoorLIFE 2020 Project

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Using scientific evidence to promote best practice

We use extensive scientific research and monitoring to back up our conservation work.  

This evidence improves our understanding of the benefits blanket bog provides and enables us to evaluate the conservation methods we use. MoorLIFE 2020 research and monitoring includes:
  • setting up field labs to monitor what happens to things like water quality and storm flow when we try various interventions, like planting sphagnum
  • using Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs), to carry out landscape-scale remote sensing to create a map that shows the vegetation cover  
  • producing a carbon audit report to measure the carbon emitted through our conservation work against the carbon that will be stored by the repaired blanket bog
  • monitoring the socioeconomic impact of the project
  • creating a database to record moorland wildfires in the area

MoorLIFE 2020 research and monitoring

Find out more about the research and monitoring being undertaken as part of the MoorLIFE 2020 Project

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Our pioneering programme of communications and community engagement has seen us:

  • develop the first ever ‘moor in a van’; our Bogtastic Van visits communities surrounding the Peak District and South Pennines
  • develop a national wildfire recording tool to allow the wildfire-fighting community to record their fire data in a single place, an initiative that aims to increase our evidence base of how blanket bogs reduce the risk of wildfire
  • hold and participate in conferences and seminars including BogFest 2017 which brought together nearly 300 experts on peatlands from across the globe
  • start a junior ranger group in Edale to inspire a new generation of conservationists

MoorLIFE 2020 Communications

Find more about the how MoorLIFE 2020 is encouraging people to value and love their bogs

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Our funding and delivery partners

The project is delivered by the Peak District National Park Authority as the lead and accountable body (the Coordinating Beneficiary).

On the ground delivery is being undertaken largely by the Moors for the Future staff team with works also undertaken by the National Trust High Peak and Marsden Moor Estate, the RSPB Dove Stone team and Pennine Prospects (the Associated Beneficiaries). Funded by the EU LIFE programme and co-financed by Severn Trent, Yorkshire Water and United Utilities. With advice and regulation from Natural England and the Environment Agency, and local advice from landowners.

The €16 million project will receive €12 million funding from the EU LIFE programme, the largest ever award to a UK nature conservation project. It is co-financed by Severn Trent, Yorkshire Water and United Utilities.

Facts and figures

  • the project will protect the integrity of 95 square kilometres (9,500 hectares) of active blanket bog
  • In 2016, the Derwent and Howden moors were the first areas to benefit from MoorLIFE 2020 conservation work
  • during March 2018 nearly 650,000 sphagnum plug plants were planted, by hand, covering over 5 square kilometres. This is one of the largest single sphagnum-application programmes carried out in a month
  • in 2018 we engaged with 4000 people through our programme of engagement events

Sphagnum plug planting

Funded by

life logo Natura2000 logo