Sustainable Grazing in the English Uplands

English Uplands Photo Gallery

(click on an image to enlarge it)

Heather Calluna vulgaris

Heather is a highly branched evergreen shrub. It is sometimes known as Ling. The numerous stems take root at the base, and there are also a large number of short side shoots. The leaves are very small, narrow and scale-like, their sides are often curled back so much that they are triangular in cross-section. Shrubs typically grow to around 60cm in height, but may occasionally reach 1 m. It is abundant and dominant across large moorland areas.

Heather flower

The flowers are borne on narrow spikes usually 4-5mm long and appear in June-July. The flowers are small and can vary in colour from pink to redish-purple.


Bilberry Vaccinium myritillus

The bilberry is native to heaths, moors and acidic woodlands, and is more tolerant of exposure and of shade than Calluna. It is commonly found throughout the British Isles and can become locally dominant in England towards the southeast, but is absent form several eastern and east Midlands counties. It forms a local associate to Calluna on southern England heaths, and in the west and north it is abundant.


This deciduous shrub has pink, cream, or greenish-white flowers are borne singly in the axils of new stems.  The flowers are small and waxy and appear in April-June.  Fruit color ranges from dark red to bluish or purplish black. Leaves are bright green and oval in shape. The purplish fruits form in autumn.

Eyebright Euphrasia spp.

Eyebright is a small, annual plant with deeply cut leaves, native to the heaths and pastures of Britain, the European continent, and subarctic regions of North America. Found growing on heaths, pastures, waste lands and other dry places, especially on a chalky soil. The stem is erect and wiry, either unbranched in small specimens, or with many opposite branches. The leaves are 1/6 to 1/2 inch long and about 1/4 inch broad, opposite to one another on the lower portion of the stem, alternate above, more often lance-shaped, though sometimes, as already stated, much broader, and with four to five teeth on each side. 

Eyebright flowers

Eyebright flowers from July to September. It has deeply-cut leaves and numerous, small, white or purplish flowers variegated with yellow. The flowers are in terminal spikes, with leafy bracts interspersed.




Northern Bedstraw Galium boreale

Though its flowers are small, Northern Bedstraw is an attractive plant, also known as "wild baby's breath." The tiny white flowers of this perennial form dozens of dense clusters about half an inch wide. The clusters are found at the tips of the many branches. The very narrow leaves are about an inch long and grouped in whorls of four along the square stems. Stems about a foot long arise in tufts from shallow horizontal rootstocks. Each flower produces a fruit consisting of structures that split in half at maturity.


Cottongrass Eriphorum spp.

Cottongrass was once widespread, but is now declining due to drainage of its favoured habitat - acid bogs and fens.  It is more common towards the north and west of the British Isles.

The leaves are up to 6 mm wide and are V-shaped in cross-section. The stem is a rounded, triangular shape in cross-section. The stems of the flower spikes have minute forward-pointing bristles.

Sphagnum bog-mosses 

These mosses can grow whilst completely or partly submerged in water. Therefore they can be found in the wet parts of the bog, often partly or completely submerged or growing as a floating mat. It ranges in colour from dull green to orange in colour. It is mainly a lowland species.

Matgrass Nardus stricta

Nardus stricta is a densely tufted, long lived perennial grass, which is prevalent in upland Britain. It is relatively unpalatable to grazing stock, and selective grazing encourages it to become dominant.

Heath Rush Juncus squarrous

Robust rush with narrow leaves. Makes poor quality grazing for livestock as it is unpalatable. 

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