The Dark Peak is one of the most famous landmarks in the Peak District National Park, known for its exposed and isolated tracts of Moorland, as well as its expansive rolling plateau which is covered by Cottongrass bogs and heather moorlands. The soil of the area is composed of moorland peat which provides the perfect environment for the plant life in the area. The areas to the flanks of the high moorland host numerous copses which are composed of Oak and Birch. The Valley sides themselves are also thriving with plant life and have thick brackets of coniferous and mixed plants running down their sides. Other valleys in the area support acid grassland.
The Ecosystem in the area is however vulnerable to change which is being brought on by both natural factors such as climate change, as well as human interaction. The Peak District Park Authority has a vision for the area to remain in its current form, which will ultimately require conservation work. The Park Authority would like to see the area rich in healthy peat bogs and Heathland. The Healthy Peat bogs ensure that the area continues to host a vast array of wildlife, and the woodland will store carbon.
Some of the moorland habitats are however degrading presently and the park authority endeavors to restore these habitats through re-vegetation of the peat areas, as well as blocking gully’s so that the area can retain a larger amount of water. The blocking of gulleys will help the development of bogs in the area, which support a number of birds that are indigenous to the surrounding area.
The Heathlands’s are to be managed through burning which will help the area in regards to its grasslands which will, in turn, help support populations of insects. The growing population of insects in the area will attract birds to the area such as Short Eared Owls, Merlins, and Red grouses.
The Park Authority’s vision for the area is to ensure that all of the vegetation blends in, with no straight boundaries between the different area of bogs, heather and other types of grasslands. This is to be done via the encouragement and development of transitional habitats such as rush pastures and scrublands. The scrublands will help create a natural barrier between open moorland and the vegetation-rich slopes in the area. Other natural features in the area such as fens and rocky outcrops are also to be safeguarded in order for the area to retain a diverse mix of vegetation and habitats. Work will also be done by the Park authority to encourage indigenous species to move back into the area in greater numbers, which will, in turn, increase biodiversity.