Living Uplands

An abundance...

of birds and wildlife

so tough yet so fragile


Lots of it

And yet so much more to it


the wildlife, landscapes and communities

of our managed uplands


Valley communities

fundamentally linked to their surroundings

Living Uplands

Welcome to Living Uplands. Our project seeks to inform and educate about life on and about the amazing Upland moorland, a very special landscape. Living Uplands explores the many and diverse characteristics of an environment that sustains rich flora, protects endangered British fauna and wildlife, and is a carbon capturing colossus of deep peatland reserves. Working with Wildlife Trusts and other conservation and business groups we aim to bring the Living Uplands into homes, schools and communities, developing a better understanding of the management time, effort and passion that is invested to sustain this landscape, its character and contribution to climate and ecosystem security.

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About Living Uplands

Celebrating the Living Uplands

The Living Uplands project was first created to focus the attention on one of the UK's most endangered birds, the iconic black grouse. While developing resources on this species it became obvious that its story had a lot more to it.

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An abundance of wildlife, so tough yet so fragile

From a distance the uplands look relatively bleak and empty but when you start to examine them, spend time on them and look harder you realise they are a safe haven for many species of plants, birds, reptiles and mammals.

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Space lots of it, and yet so much more to it

The uplands and moorlands of England are home to half of the United Kingdom's sites of scientific interest and a huge 74% of national parks in England are classed as a moorland or upland. Millions of people visit these areas each year. 

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Authentic valley communities

The uplands of England are often seen as areas of outstanding natural beauty with many upland communities dotted throughout. Such communities are best known for farming and working their local landscapes.

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Understand the living uplands


Uplands are any mountainous region or elevated mountainous areas. Generally speaking, upland refers to ranges of hills, typically up to 500-600m. Britain's upland areas are some of the most beautiful in the world, with elevated areas of dramatic features such as hills, moors, valleys and mountains. Such landscapes have inspired art, literature and music, they gather more than 70% of our drinking water, store billions of tons of carbon in peat and soils and are home to some of the UK's most rare but threatened wildlife and flora including 70% of the world's heather moorland. Though sparsely populated they host more than 100 million day visits a year.


Moorland or moor is a type of habitat found in upland areas in temperate grasslands, savannas, and shrublands and montane grasslands and shrublands biomes, characterised by low-growing vegetation on acidic soils. It generally refers to open upland landscapes dominated by heather and maintained through human management. It is found above the limit of enclosed agricultural land and below the theoretical climatic tree line at about 600m. The term moorland can be used to include blanket bog and upland acid grassland. Dwarf-shrub species such as heathers, bilberry, cowberry and crowberry characterise moorland, but there is variation according to climate, soils, drainage and management. Wetter areas are generally less heathery in appearance and can be picked out at a distance by the greener hues of purple moor-grass, deer grass and heath rush, sometimes spiked with bog asphodel and common cotton grass.

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