In biodiversity terms, the Peak District is special. The largely man-made landscape has been heavily influenced by farming, forestry, grouse moor management, demand for water and tourism, but essentially comprises two distinct areas, each with its own characteristic biodiversity: the limestone-dominated White Peak and sandstone and shale dominated Dark Peak.
The White Peak plateau is dominated by farmland, comprising highly productive but species-poor meadows and permanent pastures. Any remaining natural woodland is limited to steeper, more inaccessible areas. The distinctive White Peak dales sustain many high-quality habitats: species-rich grasslands support a range of colourful flowers; scrub and
woodland supports a range of bats, birds, flora and invertebrates; limestone cliffs, rock outcrops and screes support specialised trees, flowers, mosses and lichens; and rivers and streams provide habitat for a range of fish, invertebrates and animals.
Past mineral and aggregates extraction has left its influence through metal-rich spoil heaps, which support specialised grasslands, and former limestone quarries, which have developed a rich flora, and provide nesting sites for the peregrine and raven. Just to the east of the White Peak the Derwent River Valley is a dominant feature and supports a range of wetland, woodland and grassland habitats and species.
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