A £1 million government grant to help maintain and restore fire-damaged areas of Ilkley Moor is announced today (May 11) by Natural England, one of two major awards to improve two of the most famous moors in Yorkshire.
A total of £ 3 million will be spent on Ilkley Moor – which runs “over the tops” from Wharfedale to joins with Rombalds Moor into Airedale at Skipton– and Danby Common on the North York Moors.
The money will help restore some of the areas of Ilkley Moor damaged by a disastrous fire; protect wildlife and in particular rare ground nesting birds; and help hill farmers to carefully manage their sheep so that the areas are not over-grazed – a major cause for the loss of heather habitat.
In a statement announcing the grants, Environment Minister Huw Irranca-Davies commented: “This money for Ilkley Moor and Danby Common will help ensure that the land is managed in a way that is good for the environment, good for wildlife, and good for the rest of us.”
Said Peter Nottage Regional Director for Natural England, said “These two major agreements represent a strong commitment by those involved to ensure that the features and wildlife in two of Yorkshire’s most beautiful areas are restored and enhanced. We’re incredibly pleased and looking forward to seeing the environment in these much-loved places thrive. “
Work on Ilkley Moor, as well as re-seeding fire damaged areas, will ensure that:
- The numbers of sheep on the moor will be carefully managed and shepherded to help heather, bilberry, cotton grasses and other important vegetation regenerate and provide improved habitat for ground-nesting birds like golden plover, snipe and curlew. Other wildlife like green hairstreak butterfly, merlin and short eared owl will also benefit.
- Damaged footpaths, walls and gates will be restored
- In consultation with English Heritage, historical features including rare cup and ring stones will be surveyed, restored and protected.
- Bracken has taken over so it will be carefully controlled to return areas to good quality heath and prevent further damage to historical features.
- A heather burning and cutting plan will encourage healthy growth of plant species like cowberry and cotton grasses. This will preserve and improve the deep peat blanket bogs which help to lock up carbon dioxide.