This is an activity based on peatlands throughout the UK. It features case study material from southwest moorlands, the Peak District National Park and the Flow Country. However, you can use this resource in conjunction with visits to any of the UK's peatland National Parks (Peak District, Lake District, Snowdonia, Dartmoor, North York Moors, Yorkshire Dales, Exmoor, Northumberland, Brecon Beacons, Loch Lomond & Trossachs and Cairngorms), or as a stand-alone resource in the class-room without field visits.
Who for?
A and AS Level Geography and Higher Geography and Biology
Who by?
This activity can be delivered by National Park education teams or can be used independently by teachers in the classroom.

Activity aims:

School group on a guided moorland walk in the North York Moors
Students on a guided walk in the North York Moors

The resource is based on the latest research on peatlands, giving pupils a unique insight into the hidden beauty and value of these environments to UK society, how they have been damaged, and what we can do to restore and protect them.

By the end of this activity, pupils should be able to:

  • Demonstrate the range of benefits that society derives from peatlands, and why we should value them and look after them
  • Explain how peatlands have been damaged in the past and get pupils to think about how this damage affects different services that peatlands provide to society
  • Get pupils to put themselves in the shoes of those who may decide the future for peatlands, considering how different ways of managing the land might affect different groups of people and the services that peatlands provide to society
  • Explain the benefits and challenges of engaging everyone who manages or depends on peatlands in decisions about how they should be managed in future, and apply good practice principles to a case study of siting a wind farm on peatland
  • Illustrate different ways that damaged peatlands may be restored with case study material from the Peak District National Park in England and the Flow Country in Scotland, and get pupils to think critically about how this work may be paid for, from both the public and private sector
  • Describe each of the peatland National Parks and how they are managed, and encourage pupils to think critically about the role of tourism in peatland National Parks
  • Describe the practices and consequences of peat cutting and horticultural use of peat, and peat-free compost alternatives
  • Illustrate key points from each of the above aims through a detailed case study of southwest moorlands

Arranging a visit

Visits can be arranged to a range of peatland sites across the National Park network, to illustrate the learning outcomes above and further explore this topic. Web links are provided below for each National Park that contains peatlands in the UK, for you to plan your school trip:

A number of other organisations can also arrange educational site visits to peatlands including:

What you will need

  • Access to You Tube
  • Please liaise with a National Park education team to make sure you bring the right things with you if you make a field visit.
  • Detailed instructions for visiting Aclands (section 8) are given in Appendix 1 of the resource.
  • Download the Teachers resource pack here. (7.8mb pdf)

Curriculum links (England):

  • OCR Geography A and As Level:
  • Topic: Ecosystems and environments under threat

    Key concepts: Human activity and environmental factors often threaten ecosystems for a variety of reasons. The impact of human activity varies over time and location. There are diverse ways of managing an ecosystem in a sustainable way.

    Content: The study of one local ecosystem or environment to illustrate: the threats to, and the impacts on, the physical environment posed by a range of human activities; and the role that conservation can play in reducing the threats to the environment.

  • Topic: The Growth of Tourism

    Content: What are the social, economic and environmental issues associated with the growth of tourism? Tourism brings both opportunities and problems. Managing tourism to ensure sustainability

  • CIE Geography A and As Level:
  • Topic: Environmental Management

    Content: The management of a degraded environment. A case study of one designated environment, illustrating the causes of its degradation, problems faced, issues in attempts to improve the environment and evaluating the attempted solutions.

  • Environmental degradation and the management of a degraded environment:

    Causes, problems, issues in attempts to improve the environment, including evaluation

  • AQA Geography A and As Level:
  • Topic: Ecosystems Ð Change and Challenge
    Content: Ecosystem issues on a local scale: impact of human activity
  • Topic: Ecosystems - Change and Challenge
    Content: Ecosystem issues on a local scale: impact of human activity

Curriculum links (Scotland):

  • SQA Biology Higher:
  • Unit 3 - Sustainability and Interdependence

    Measuring biodiversity: (ii) Species diversity

    Threats to biodiversity: (i) Overexploitation; (ii) Habitat loss; (iii) Introduced, naturalised and invasive species; (iv) Anthropogenic climate change.

  • SQA Biology Advanced Higher:
  • Unit: Environmental Biology

    c) Human Impact on the environment: changes to ecosystems; changes in complexity; pollution.

  • SQA Geography Higher:
  • Unit: Environmental Interactions

    Interactions (a) Rural land resources in the UK: 1 Characteristics of glaciated upland, upland limestone and coastal landscapes; 2 The evolution of these landscapes; 3 Economic and social opportunities; 4 Environmental problems and conflicts; 5 UK and European Union policies.

  • SQA Geography Advanced Higher:
  • Geographical Study Unit

    Independent research - Plan and research a geographical study. Select and use techniques to gather and analyse information. Evaluate the learning gained through the research process.

  • Geographical issues

    Produce a critical evaluation about a geographical issue, e.g. Rural Land Degradation, siting wind farms