6 September 2002

Heather reseeding relief

EFFORTS to halt the decline of heather moorland in northern England by reseeding have been saved by the trial of a new tracked vehicle.

The vehicle, owned by Dinsdale Moorland Services, has been invaluable on the high Pennine moors around Nenthead in Cumbria after the summers prolonged wet weather caused problems.

The companys Matt Dinsdale said the peaty moorland soil quickly became boggy after torrential summer rain making it difficult to undertake re-seeding using traditional equipment.

"Our new vehicle is smaller – about 3t lighter than the dual-wheeled tractor we usually use – and is helping us to continue the re-seeding which is dependent upon careful ground preparation," he said.

The Lancaster-based Moor-land Association, set-up to counter the loss of 200,000 acres of heather moorland over the last 60 years, said it welcomed the innovation. &#42

And improved heather moorland is boosting grouse numbers and leading to more employment. At Jake Morleys Crossgill Farm, Alston, a re-seeding project has been underway covering 80 acres of the 2000 acres of moor.

An additional keeper has now been employed and its hoped that more income from extra grouse shooting days in future years will further boost the local economy.