From: Natural England
First published: 18 November 2016
https://www.gov.uk/government/news/west ... n-a-decade
http://www.rspb.org.uk/community/getinv ... bU.twitter
Note though that according to DEFRA https://consult.defra.gov.uk/natural-en ... ine-moors/ this is UNDER CONSULTATION and views are invited for consideration https://consult.defra.gov.uk/natural-en ... ine-moors/ - I wonder if the society will be sending their support?
In case you haven't read the last Newsletter, here is an extract:-
"It has been a notable summer on the West Pennine Moors (WPM) with a host of locally scarce, or previously unrecorded upland specialities reported. Botanically, the consolidation or spread of existing restricted populations of Moonwort, Great Sundew, Royal Fern, Round-leaved Sundew and Bell Heather were noted whilst in many areas, vast carpets of Cranberry fruited in abundance. Highlights were the locating of new colonies of Marsh Andromeda, Cowberry and Labrador Tea, whilst pride of place went to the discovery of Many-stalked Spike-rush, a native perennial new to the WPM.
Moving away from vascular plants, a population of the upland specialist Bilberry Bumblebee was confirmed at Belmont and whilst Adder numbers in the east of the WPM were down, a male seen in the west by a competent observer in August, confirmed the continuing presence of a relict population there. The WPM is well known for its important breeding bird populations, particularly of waders and gulls, and 2016 was no exception; with the highpoints probably being the ten species of breeding wader across the area and the fledging of at least 38 juvenile Mediterranean Gulls from within the UK’s largest Black-headed Gullery at Belmont.
However, eclipsing all of the above and further to the announcement in the CDNHS February Newsletter (no. 152), the icing on the cake was the news that has just been confirmed that Natural England has notified the West Pennine Moors as a SSSI. The designation should be completed, following the consultation period, by August 2017.
The SSSI area covers a massive 76km², largely of unenclosed moorland from Anglezarke Moor in the west, Darwen Moor in the north, Smithills Moor in the south through to Holcombe Moor in the east. Also included are some key areas of in-bye fields and upland woodland (including Rivington’s Dean Wood, Lead Mines Clough and the south Roddlesworth Plantations), the area’s largest Heronry at Entwistle plus one major waterbody, Belmont Reservoir together with its surrounding in-bye fields. Because of the previous lack of designation of the WPM, we subconsciously have perhaps thought of them as of lesser importance than the nearby Bowland Fells or South Pennines. No longer, as the Natural England’s SSSI process has highlighted that the WPM is richer in many aspects, particularly in Sphagna and some breeding bird aggregations, than its near neighbours.
In these days where ‘listing’, forums and ‘viz-mig’ are all the vogue; we are fortunate locally to have a number of naturalists (including several CHDHS Society members) who have carried out more ‘traditional’ methods of recording by systematically mapping plants, breeding birds, Sphagna and fungi to Natural England criteria. It is only through their recording of the ‘regular’ and ‘breeding’ species over many years of painstaking, and often unrecognised, work that the SSSI has come to pass. The designation is therefore just reward for these fieldworkers whose names you rarely, if ever, see on a forum or blog.
There have been many other contributors to the notification outside of field surveyors; including those who wrote to Natural England and their MP’s, plus some of our MP’s themselves who lobbied on our behalf, as well as pressure and publicity from the RSPB, Wildlife Trust and some well-known ‘national bloggers’. Local Natural England staff were also supportive throughout, even when some of their peers at headquarters appeared less than enthusiastic to proceed with the designation.
Special mention must be given to my two fellow authors of the 2007 ‘Conspectus of SSSI Consideration of the WPM’, Peter Jepson and Tim Melling, whose assiduous recording and lobbying has been a major influence in attaining the statutory protection of the West Pennine Moors.
I sincerely hope that the illustrious former botanists and naturalists that once walked the West Pennine Moors, names such as W H Western, T K Holden, T Greenlees, M B Horan, Alfred Hazelwood, Frank Lowe, Eric Hardy, Rev. C E Shaw, John Butterworth, John Whitelegg and Eric Ward to name but a few; will feel some pride in the achievement of today’s generation who walk in their eminent footsteps."