Moorland dominates the landscapes of Britain’s uplands, including many of its national parks. It is a managed landscape, maintained by farmers for sheep grazing and by estates for grouse shooting. It can include dry and wet heaths, blanket bogs and rough grasslands, but in Britain it is usually associated with heather-covered uplands. It is a fragile landscape, easily damaged by over-grazing, burning and pollution.
British moorland is usually open upland dominated by heather above enclosed fields, and below the tree line at about 600 metres (1,969 ft). Moors are found on shallow peat and on well-drained mineral soils on slopes that are kept moist by rain and mist. Peat moorland can include upland acid grassland and blanket bog on poorly drained ground where waterlogging has allowed peat to form, characterised by bog-mosses, hare’s-tail cottongrass and heather.
The British Isles has around 70 per cent of the world’s heather moorland. Britain and Ireland, particularly northern and south-west England and Scotland, have more heather moorland than anywhere else in the world, covering at least a million acres (4,050 km2). Moorland dominates the landscapes of the Pennines and several national parks, including the North York Moors, Yorkshire Dales, Exmoor, Dartmoor, the Peak District and Snowdonia. About a third of the North York Moors, the largest continuous expanse of moorland in England and Wales, is covered in heather. Heather is widespread across the uplands of Northern Ireland and Scotland, and can be found down to sea level in the north. Moorland covers some 38 per cent of Scotland .
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