Conservation & Wlidlife

Summerstone Conservation

We work closely with Nidderdale AONB. We are members of the Nidderdale Moorland Group, who promotes the positive conservation work done by grouse moor managers in Upper Nidderdale.



We restore our moor using a range of techniques including heather burning, cutting and blocking old drains. As a result, we are actually increasing peat levels, and with it the moor’s capacity to store carbon and prevent flooding.

Our native breed cattle are specifically chosen to help restore previously intensively grazed areas, eating the less palatable dominant grasses leaving the tussocky pasture, beloved by wading birds.

Their hoof prints fill with water creating breeding grounds for insects and their cowpats are full of worms which are food for birds in winter.

We are reseeding over half our 500 acre moorland with heather, berries and grasses, while encouraging sphagnum moss and other peat-forming plants.

Conservation & Wlidlife

Summerstone Wildlife

The new grazing regime has helped to provide plenty of long grass for voles, which are the main food source for Barn Owls. Some moorlands have lost many of their rare birds due to habitat loss and predators.

Our work has benefited insect life & rare wild birds.

Some moorlands have lost many of their native birds due to habitat loss and predators. We have installed 50 smaller boxes for birds, three boxes for bats and three for kestrels, all supplied by Nidderdale Birdwatchers.

To date five pairs of red-listed pied flycatchers have taken up residence here. We have a dedicated breeding programme for Curlew, Lapwing, Red Shank and Golden Plover and breeding pairs of Barn Owls, Tawny Owls, Long

Eared Owls, Common Buzzards and Kestrels. We have fenced off water courses and woodland, so sheep can be better managed. Our smaller flock of native Swaledale sheep help keep the sward at the right height to attract ground nesting waders such as Curlew, Oyster Catcher, Redshank and Lapwing. We also keep foxes, crows, magpies and jackdaws under control to protect the waders’ eggs and chicks.


Tree Planting

We have planted over 65,000 trees and counting! Rather than simply planting across the moorland, we follow a comprehensive plantation plan that also takes our farming and other activities into account.

To some extent we are rewilding a large part of the estate, some 54 hectares!

To help create a more natural woodland we have planted in different densities, feathered the edges and used upland species such as oak, birch, rowan and hazel for ground cover. We have added conifer and holly for evergreen colour and year-round bird habitat.



Land Management

There has been plenty of clearing and mending to do.

Old fencing has been removed and craftsmen contracted to restore over 1,200m of stone walls.

Up on the moor, tracks are being repaired, which can be used by walkers and enable access to conserve the moorland plants.

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