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. Many species depend on the uplands for their breeding and nesting season. One particular focus of the Living Uplands project are red-listed species of birds including Lapwing, Curlew and Ring ouzel. They have all declined significantly in recent years and are now under severe threat.
It is extremely important that we learn and understand how relevant upland areas are to these species so that we can preserve and protect them for future generations. Many factors affect these areas including human activity, the weather, fluctuations in predatory animals and natural resources.
Living Uplands along with Durham Wildlife Trust and Teesside University is undertaking a project looking at plastics in the River Wear, source to sea, and engaging communities on what can be done to reduce pollution.
From being reported in 1903, as a salmon river 'ruined by pollution' so that 'there is nothing to be said about its angling', the River Wear, and its tributaries has much to offer today to anyone interested in its natural history.
Wolf, Wild Boar, and Aurochs (wild cattle) no longer roam Weardale, the hunting forests of the Bishop Princes gone, but there remains a wide and varied diversity in the fauna of the region.
Living Uplands has reached a small milestone, with the fifth consecutive bird count with Durham Wildlife Trust. This annual exercise is building a valuable data set of birdlife on a particular section of upland moor.