There is upwards of 8,000 acres of heather moorland on the Estate, which rises up to a height of 540 metres above sea level. This stretch of the Estate is particularly remote, with the bracing scenery and views across to the North Yorkshire Moors and surrounding Pennines.
The moors are a fragile environment, supporting diverse flora and fauna. There are walking trails across them, as shown on OS maps, and walkers are requested to keep to the tracks. Government guidelines dictate that dogs are only permitted on public paths on leads to prevent disturbance and visitors must avoid lighting fires at all times. During the breeding season of May and June open access to the moors is prohibited.
The Estate’s moors are managed for the benefit of the conservation of the peatland habitat and the wildlife that flourishes on it, particularly upland breeding birds. The moors are recognised as being of high wildlife importance and have the internationally recognised designations of Site of Special Scientific Interest, Special Area of Conservation and Special Protection Area.
The habitat is a fragile one requiring sensitive winter burning and targeted grazing of the heather to provide a mosaic of habitats which supports the widest biodiversity achievable. Key species supported by this management are grouse, waders including golden plover, curlew, red shank and lapwing as well as merlin and other birds of prey.
Swinton Estate is currently working with the Yorkshire Peat Partnership and Yorkshire Water on a sphagnum moss project with a view to help manage the Moors to improve blanket bog cover and water quality.
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