This blog has touched on the performance of the National Trust as a nature conservation organisation a few times (including yesterday) and hasn’t always been gushing in its praise for that immensely successful organisation – immensely successful in selling itself, nice cakes and a day out, that is.
But fair’s fair and here is an area where the NT is doing the right thing, where it isn’t, I imagine, completely straightforward to do the right thing and where others will criticise the NT behind closed doors. That’s why I am asking you to show your support for what the NT is doing. And you need to do that today or tomorrow, please.
NT is consulting on their vision for the High Peak Moors. This is an area of upland England surrounded by areas of high population. At the moment the area is not fulfilling its wildlife potential and all those visitors are cheated out of the wildlife experience which they might have. The NT is bravely planning to do something about this. Their vision is for a more natural upland landscape, not dominated by land managed for red grouse shooting, but one which delivers more for wildlife and more for people in terms of those funny things called ecosystem services – carbon storage, water management, high water quality etc.
This all seems very sensible but it is a brave move as there will be some entrenched views on the necessity (how can it be a necessity?) to maintain heather burning and commercial grouse shooting, and in addition people tend not to like any sort of change.
All you have to do to show your support for the NT’s bravery is to reply to their online consultation. It could be as simple as sending a supportive email along the lines of ‘Well done NT, I think your vision for the High Peak Moors is great!’ to firstname.lastname@example.org .
But if you want to say more then here is one I completed earlier as far as the first important question is concerned. You could adapt it as your online response:
Do you think our Vision should have any different or additional outcomes?
No I think it is great! I am attracted by the more natural landscape that it will provide which will be more attractive to visitors and much better for wildlife. I also understand that your vision will deliver more carbon storage, better water management and higher water quality from this area of land. I cannot see many drawbacks at all.
The Derwent Valley is one of the worst hot-spots for illegal raptor persecution in England. That this is the case in a National Park and where the NT is a major landowner is totally unacceptable to me. I would see the move away from burning of blanket bog and heather moorland as a very positive one. Far too many of England’s uplands are dominated by grouse shooting and the illegal persecution of raptors which all too often seems to go alongside it. The NT is to be commended on trying to make one small corner of the English uplands a more diverse and wildlife-rich , and more attractive, landscape.
I would imagine that wildlife such as goshawks, black grouse, a range of woodland and scrub species (eg whinchat, cuckoo) would benefit from this management – and actually, even if they don’t (which I think they will) it will be very interesting to see which species do benefit as this type of management change has rarely been done in the English uplands.
I have seen the comments on your website from others involved in the consultation which talk up the value of red grouse shooting and heather burning. i don’t accept that these are the appropriate activities for NT land in this place if they lead to calls for reduced access, burning of sensitive blanket bog, killing of ‘vermin’ and illegal destruction of birds of prey. This is the time for the NT to stand against such nonsense and as a NT member I am expecting you to do just that.