A moor is the common name for upland heathland and is defined as being above 300 metres in altitude. There has been a considerable loss of heather moorland in recent times. Between 1947-1980, approximately 27% was lost in England and Wales. Much of this loss is due to agricultural improvement, heavy grazing by sheep and afforestation. Losses of moorland in Shropshire have mirrored national trends and the most significant causes of loss have been overgrazing and agricultural improvement.
With the exception of the Long Mynd and Stiperstones, occurrences of moorland in Shropshire are less than 100 hectares in extent. At this comparatively small size, they do not support the diversity of upland birds normally associated with large upland moors. Four Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs) in Shropshire include moorland and are therefore protected by the provisions of the Wildlife and Countryside Act. The Stiperstones & Hollies SSSi is owned and managed as a National Nature Reserve by English Nature. It is one of the best moorland sites in the European Union and has been submitted as a candidate for Special Area of Conservation status. The Long Mynd is owned by the National Trust, whose objectives include landscape and nature conservation.
Moorland commonly occurs on thin soil or peat less than 0.5 metres deep and is characterised by a cover of at least 25% of dwarf shrubs such as heather, bilberry, crowberry and cowberry. A great deal of the remainder is covered with heather but other plants can be found such as :-
Marsh St John’s Wort
Animals are rarer than on heathland but the following can be found :-
Black Darter Dragonfly
Dark Green Fritillary
Grey Mountain Carpet Moth
Oak Eggar Moth
Small Pearl-Bordered Fritillary
Wood Tiger Moth
Yellow Underwing Moth
Gazetteer of Moors