RSPB secures wildlife at Saddleworth’s Dovestone Reservoir for future generations

THE LONG-TERN future of nature at a Greenfield beauty spot has been secured thanks to a deal between the RSPB and water company United Utilities.

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Dovestone Reservoir

The nature conservation organisation has taken over the tenancy of 840ha of Dovestone Reservoir, owned by United Utilities, giving them agricultural rights to the land for the next 25 years.

This will enable them to deliver an extensive and ongoing programme of habitat restoration, continuing the work they started in 2010 to restore water quality and help wildlife.

The RSPB already had extensive management rights to around 1,100 ha of this area and this new agreement gives them fuller rights across around 2,000ha.

Dave O’Hara, RSPB Site Manager at Dove Stone, said: “This new tenancy represents another major milestone in our pioneering partnership with United Utilities.

“By gaining the rights to manage a large area we will be able to further our aims of delivering habitat restoration on a landscape-scale.

“In doing so, we hope to continue to make big gains for nature, for water quality and for carbon stewardship.”

Ed Lawrance, United Utilities Wildlife Warden, said: “We are delighted to be extending our partnership with the RSPB. It is good news not just for water and wildlife but also the thousands of visitors that enjoy the reservoir and its surroundings every year.

“Working together, our two organisations recognise that managing land sustainably and in partnership can deliver lasting benefits.”

The land under the new tenancy comprises of a range of moorland habitats including large areas of blanket bog, which is important for wildlife, water quality and carbon storage.

However, a combination of industrial pollution, wildfires and heavy grazing has caused severe damage to the bogs in the Peak District.

By restoring and managing this habitat sensitively, the RSPB aims to give a long-term home to a range of wildlife from breeding waders such as curlews and golden plovers to short-eared owls.

The work will also help protect and improve the quality of water flowing into the local reservoirs, by reducing erosion of the bog.

The land also features a range of other habitats important for nature including heath, grassland and native woodland.

There will be opportunities to increase woodland and heathland on the edge of the moorland, attracting a greater variety of wildlife, including scarce birds such as whinchat, and butterflies including the green hairstreak.

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