Mountains and moorland

Credits: Windswept moorland in the UK - istock

Mountains and moorland are the largest area of wild, natural habitat in Britain and some of our most spectacular scenery. Wildlife habitats include heather moorland, bogs and windswept woodland.

In the uplands you will find fast flowing streams with waterfalls, lakes and man-made reservoirs. Some moorland and bogs have been covered with blocks of conifer plantations or drained and reseeded with grass to create grazing areas for sheep. Sometimes this results in the loss of typical mountain and moorland wildlife. However other wildlife species have colonised these new upland habitats. Most of our upland habitats are found in Scotland, Wales and the Pennines though there are smaller areas of moorland in Cornwall, Devon and Yorkshire.


Did you know?

Though they may seem wild, moorland habitats have been created by people. Originally these areas were covered in scrub and woodland but a long history of sheep grazing, and in some places managing the land for grouse shooting by burning the vegetation, has created the heather moorlands we see today. Only the mountain peaks, rock faces, scree slopes and the wetter bogs are truly wilderness.

Wildlife to look out for:


Birds to spot soaring across this beautiful landscape, or nesting in the moorland, include raven, buzzard, peregrine falcon, red grouse, golden plover, dipper, grey wagtail, meadow pipit, skylark, curlew and wheatear. Take your binoculars!




Heather moorland are beautiful areas, filled with bell heather, common heather (ling), cross-leaved heath, bilberry, crowberry, bracken, rushes, sphagnum mosses, cotton grass, purple moor-grass and rowan (mountain ash) trees.




Mammals that live in these special habitats include red deer, polecat, pine marten, wildcat, field vole, fox and the stunning mountain hare.




Lots of amazing creepy-crawlies can be found if you just look closer... Keep an eye out for spiders, honey bees, bumble bees, heather beetle, emperor moth, northern eggar moth, large heath and the Scotch argus butterfly.


Want to have some fun? Click on the sheets below to download the activity sheets! There's lots more activities to try here