'''Erosion is a serious problem in the Peak, especially in the peat-covered gritstone plateau areas. The causes are complex and include acid rain from the towns and factories to the west of the Peak, overgrazing by sheep resulting in a degeneration of the heather and bilberry covering of the moorlands and the sheer number of visitors coming to the area.
Over the years, pressure to graze ever-increasing numbers of sheep led to areas like Kinder Scout having three times the sustainable number of sheep grazing it. The result has been a denuding of the vegetation which has led to hugely increased erosion. This has led the National Trust to fence off large areas (to keep the sheep out!) - with the intention of leaving them in this state for up to 10 years in order to allow the vegetation to regenerate.
As a National Long-Distance Footpath, the Pennine Way has received particular attention and the Countryside Commission funds the maintenance of this path at a cost of approximately 150,000 per annum. This work is carried out by a 5-person team working for the Peak National Park who have a 5-year rolling programme for maintaining the path. The paving work is done using stone flags from demolition sites - these are carried up onto the hillside by helicopter and then laid in place.
However, some specific activities may have to be restricted - for example, quite severe damage can be done by fell races (when hundreds of competitors may run over a section of moor), and cyclists, whose tyres cut deep incisions in wet peat. Cyclists have therefore been banned already from most routes across the peat bogs and fell race organisers are beginning to face restrictions upon the routes they can use.
Over the last 10-15 years a lot of progress has been made in tackling erosion, driven by the Peak District National Park and The National Trust, with funding from a variety of other sources and with the assistance of bands of volunteer workers.
Firstly, sheep have been fenced off the Kinder and Bleaklow plateaus, as overgrazing was a major cause of erosion. Paths from large slabs of stone have been laid where the tracks cross sensitive areas. Then major efforts where made to 're-green' Kinder, Bleaklow and Black Hill - this involved putting matting along the sides of eroded groughs and embedding grass seed within the matting, re-planting heather on bare sections and spreading grass seed or spagmun moss on others, and putting small dams in many of the groughs so as to retain the water.
The results have been generally good, in some places dramatic - such as the Kinder Plateau, which is now mostly covered by deep grass and a few small trees have taken root. Work still continues and will probably do so for years