Why Blacka Moor?


If this blog was just about Blacka Moor then it would simply show the day to day changes and explain and comment on the land management issues of one part of our landscape. It does try to do that. But it has some wider relevance because many of the issues that come up here seem to illustrate a general malaise that can be seen across the whole country. I believe that there are general problems that show themselves on Blacka Moor and they are reflected through much of our countryside. This a list of some of them, not comprehensive:

1 Too much top down management and too little local accountability

2 A conservation industry that is out of control, never properly scrutinised and governing public perceptions by agenda-setting press releases

3 A lack of adventure and imagination among the managers who are responsible for those parts of our landscape that are in public ownership.Still largely driven by the same self serving motivations of the farming and game shooting industries.

4 Too little trust in nature for fear the land managers may forfeit their role

5 A priority given to protecting certain bird species which thrive in artificial managed landscapes, ignoring wildlife that prefers more natural unmanaged sites, and especially marginalising larger mammals

Blacka Moor is interesting in the light it casts on these things. In fact it is more relevant than many places because of its history over the past 100 years, as far as that's known. In common with much of the land to the east of the Peak District National Park it had been mainly kept in a state of restricted and impoverished vegetation by sheep grazing specifically to be in good condition for raising lots of ground-nesting birds to be shot by largely aristocratic families (and friends) who owned the land, but lived a long way away. (How they got it is another story.) But since Blacka became public land that oppressive management declined and ceased, leading to the land becoming more natural and wild in aspect with consequences for the wildlife, the views and the use made of it by local people.

Only when the land was declared a SSSI for no particular reason, a purely tidying up exercise and with absolutely no reference to the public who owned and used it, was it then bureaucratically decided that Blacka was in unfavourable condition.

Unfavourable for what? Grouse shooting? The needs of a growing conservation industry?

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