Cairngorms National Park

View to Braemar

Special Landscape Qualities – Moorlands

General Qualities * The Mountains and Plateaux * Moorlands * Glens and Straths * Trees, Woods and Forests * Wildlife and Nature * Visual and Sensory Qualities * Culture and History * Recreation


Moorlands

Extensive moorland, linking the farmland, woodland and the high tops

Vast stretches of moorland characterise the Park, and it is probably the best place in the world to experience the distinctive browns and purples of swathes of heather. In late summer, the heather in full bloom is symbolic of the Scottish Highlands. It dominates the middle range hills, ascends the higher slopes and in places descends to the floor of the straths. The matrix of heather unifies the landscape elements of the whole Park, occurring throughout and linking the farmland, woodlands and the high tops. The expansive, open moors engender the exhilaration of wide open spaces and distant views, tinged at the same time with a sense of exposure to the elements.

A patchwork of muirburn

Much of the heather moorland is burnt on a cyclical basis to ensure that both young heather and old heather is present on the hillsides. This muirburn that takes place on sporting estates is designed to benefit red grouse, providing young heather for food and old for shelter. The result is a distinctive patchwork of diverse colours: the black of newly burnt ground, the grey of older fires, the green of young heather, blaeberry and grass, and the browns and purples of mature heather.

 


General Qualities * The Mountains and Plateaux * Moorlands * Glens and Straths * Trees, Woods and Forests * Wildlife and Nature * Visual and Sensory Qualities * Culture and History * Recreation