England’s hills a waking from the winter and over the next few weeks life will stream back onto the moors. Lapwings will tumble over the fields fringing the peat-covered higher ground and slowly spring will spread uphill.

The crowning glory of our hills is the blanket of deep peat that clothes the moors at a distance it creates the landscapes that draws millions of people to the hills each year – but close up its the heathers and cotton grass, sundews and sphagnum mosses that make the squelchy living carpet of blanket bog that holds water and stores carbon and provides a home to diverse wildlife from oak eggar moths to dunlins (pictured, photo Chris Gomersall, RSPB Images).

Blanket bog is a habitat under severe pressure despite being one of the UK’s most significant landscapes – it’s rare globally and that puts the spot light on us in terms of how we look after it.

Burning and draining intensify the management of blanket bog to the point it can be ruined and lost – a threadbare remnant of the living carpet and all the benefits it brings.

Today we’ve made public our concerns – and are calling for a rethink on how these important places are looked after in the future. Land owners and managers will have a key role to play as will Natural England.

Here's some background on the issues. Here's RSPB's Conservation Director, Martin Harper, blog on the topic and Mark Avery's latest in a long series of Wuthering Moors blog post (the touchstone case at the heart of this issue is Walshaw Moor in the South Pennines, inspiration for Emily Bronte's Wuthering Heights.

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