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Upland Environments Research Unit (UpERU)

The Upland Environments Research unit is a group of five staff and ten research students working in the School of Geography at The University of Manchester.

The groups research interests span Geomorphology, Hydrology, Palaeoecology, and Remote Sensing with a thematic focus on Upland Environments. The group has experience of working in North America, South East Asia, and Europe. A particular focus of current work are the threatened and globally distinctive uplands of the southern Pennines where the group maintains a continually monitored research catchment.



  • Clay, G.D., & Evans, M.G., (2017) Ten-year meteorological record for an upland research catchment, near the summit of Snake Pass in the Peak District, UK. Weather 72(8), 242-249
  • Edokpa, D.A., Evans, M.G., Allott, T.E.H., Pilkington, M., Rothwell, J.J. (2017) Peatland restoration and the dynamics of dissolved nitrogen in upland freshwaters. Ecological Engineering 106, 44-54
  • Shuttleworth, E.L., Clay, G.D., Evans, M.G., Hutchinson, S.M., Rothwell, J.J. (2017) Controls on contaminated sediment dynamics in peatland headwaters Journal of Soils and Sediments doi:10.1007/s11368-017-1674-8
  • Stimson, A.G., Allott, T.E.H., Boult, S. and Evans, M.G. (2017) Reservoirs as hotspots of fluvial carbon cycling in peatland catchments. Science of the Total Environment. 580, 398-411 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2016.11.193
  • Stimson, A.G., Allott, T.E.H., Boult, S., Evans, M.G., Pilkington, M., Holland, N. (2017) Water quality impacts of bare peat revegetation with lime and fertiliser application. Applied Geochemistry 85, 97-105
  • Worrall, F., Moody, C.S., Clay, G.D., Burt, T.P., Rose, R. (2017) The flux of organic matter through a peatland ecosystem – the role of cellulose, lignin and their control of the oxidation state. Journal of Geophysical Research – Biogeosciences 122, 1655-1671


  • Alderson, D.M., Evans, M.G., Rothwell, J.J. & Boult, S. (2016) Classifying sedimentary organics: It is a matter of quality rather than quantity. Progress in Physical Geography. 40(3) 450-479 DOI: 10.1177/0309133315625864
  • Davies, G.M., Kettridge, N., Stoof, C.R., Gray, A., Ascoli, D., Fernandes, P.M., Marrs, R., Allen, K.A., Doerr, S.H., Clay, G.D., McMorrow, J., Vandvik, V. (2016) Informed debate on the use of fire for peatland management means acknowledging the complexity of socio-ecological systems Nature Conservation 16:59-77
  • Davies, G.M., Kettridge, N., Stoof, C.R., Gray, A., Ascoli, D., Fernandes, P.M., Marrs, R., Allen, K.A., Doerr, S.H., Clay, G.D., McMorrow, J., Vandvik, V. (2016) The peatland vegetation burning debate: keep scientific critique in perspective. A response to Brown et al. and Douglas et al. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society – B 371 20160434
  • Davies, G.M., Kettridge, N., Stoof, C.R., Gray, A., Ascoli, D., Fernandes, P.M., Marrs, R., Allen, K.A., Doerr, S.H., Clay, G.D., McMorrow, J., Vandvik, V (2016) The role of fire in UK peatland and moorland management: the need for informed, unbiased debate Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society – B 371 (1696)
  • Gazzard, R., McMorrow, J., Aylen, J., (2016). Wildfire policy and management in England: an evolving response from Fire and Rescue Services, forestry and cross-sector groups. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London B: Biological Sciences 371, 20150341
  • Goulsbra, C. S., Evans, M. G., and Allott, T. E. H. (2016) Rates of CO2 efflux and changes in DOC concentration resulting from the addition of POC to the fluvial system in peatlands. Aquatic Sciences 78,477
  • Juggins, S., Kelly, M., Allott, T., Kelly-Quinn, M., Montieth, D. (2016) A Water Framework Directive-compatible metric for assessing acidification in UK and Irish rivers using diatoms. Science of the Total Environment 568, 671-678
  • Mikutta C., Rothwell, J.J. (2016). Peatbogs as hotspots for organoarsenical formation and persistence. Environmental Science and Technology. 50(8), 4314-4323 10.1021/acs.est.5b06182
  • Worrall, F., Moody, C.S., Clay, G.D., Burt, T.P., & Rose, R. (2016) The total phosphorus budget of a peat-covered catchment Journal of Geophysical Research – Biogeosciences 121(7); 1814-1828
  • Worrall, F., Clay, G.D., Moody, C.S, Burt, T.P., &. Rose, R (2016) The effective oxidation state of a peatland. Journal of Geophysical Research – Biogeosciences 121(1): 145 – 158


  • Boothroyd, I.M., Worrall, F., Allott, T.E.H. (2015) Variations in dissolved organic carbon concentrations across peatland hillslopes. Journal of Hydrology 530, 372-383
  • Clay, G.D., Worrall, F., & Aebischer, N.J. (2015) Carbon stocks and carbon fluxes from a 10 year prescribed burning chronosequence on a UK blanket peat Soil Use and Management 31(1); 39-51
  • Clay, G.D., & Worrall, F. (2015) Estimating the oxidative ratio of UK peats and agricultural soils. Soil Use and Management 31(1); 77-88
  • Dixon, S.D., Worrall, F., Rowson, J.G., Evans, M.G., (2015) Calluna vulgaris canopy height and blanket peat CO2 flux: Implications for management. Ecological Engineering 75, 497-505
  • Edokpa, D.A., Evans, M.G., Rothwell, J.J. (2015) High fluvial export of dissolved organic nitrogen from a peatland catchment with elevated inorganic nitrogen deposition. Science of the Total Environment 532: 711-722.
  • Lamers, L.P.M., Vile, M.A., Grootjans, A.P., Acreman, M.C., van Diggelen, R., Evans, M.G., Richardson, C.J., Rochefort, L., Kooijman, A.M., Roelofs, J.G.M., Smolder, A.J.P. (2015) Ecological restoration of rich fens in Europe and North America: from trial and error to an evidence-based approach. Biological Reviews 90(1), 182-203
  • Shuttleworth, E.L, Evans, M.G., Hutchinson, S.M., and Rothwell, J.J. (2015) Peatland restoration: Controls on sediment production and reductions in carbon and pollutant export. Earth Surface Processes and Landforms 40(4),459-572
  • Worrall, F., Burt, T.P., Clay, G.D., & Moody, C.S. (2015) A 19-year long energy budget of an upland peat bog, northern England.  Journal of Hydrology 520;17-29


  • Cole, B, McMorrow, J, and Evans, M. (2014) Spectral monitoring of moorland plant phenology to identify a temporal window for hyperspectral remote sensing of peatland. ISPRS Journal of Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing 90: 49-58
  • Dixon, S.D., Qassim, S.M., Rowson, J.G., Worrall, F., Evans, M.G., Boothroyd, I.M., and Bonn, A. (2014) Restoration effects on water table depths and CO2 fluxes from climatically marginal blanket bog. Biogeochemistry 118(1-3), 159-176.
  • Evans, C.D, Bonn, A., Holden, J., Reed, M.S, Evans, M.G., Worrall, F., Couwenberg, J., and Parnell, M. (2014) Relationships between anthropogenic pressures and ecosystem functions in UK blanket bogs: Linking process understanding to ecosystem service valuation. Ecosystem Services 9, 5-19.
  • Evans, C.D., Page, S.E., Jones, T., Moore, S., Gauci, V., Laiho, R., Hruska, J., Allott, T.E.H., Billett, M.F., Tipping, E., Freeman, C. & Garnett, M.H. (2014) Contrasting vulnerability of drained tropical and high-latitude peatlands to fluvial loss of stored carbon. Global Biogeochemical Cycles 28(11), 1215-1234.
  • Goulsbra, C, Evans, M, and Lindsay, J. (2014) Temporary streams in a peatland catchment: Pattern, timing, and controls on stream network expansion and contraction. Earth Surface Processes and Landforms 39(6), 790-803.
  • Millin-Chalabi, G., McMorrow, J., Agnew, C. (2014) Detecting a moorland wildfire scar in the Peak District, UK, using synthetic aperture radar from ERS-2 and Envisat ASAR. International Journal of Remote Sensing 35(1), 54-69
  • Ortega Martin, J., Allott, T.E.H., Glenk, K. & Schaafsma, M. (2014) Valuing water quality improvements from peatland restoration: Evidence and challenges. Ecosystem Services 9, 34-43.
  • Qassim, S.M., Dixon, S.D., Rowson, J.G., Worrall, F., Evans, M.G., Bonn, A. (2014) A 5-year study of the impact of peatland revegetation upon DOC concentrations. Journal of Hydrology 519, 3578-3590
  • Shuttleworth, E.L, Evans, M.G., Hutchinson, S.M., and Rothwell, J. J. (2014) Assessment of lead contamination in peatlands using field portable XRF. Water, Air, and Soil Pollution 225(2),1844
  • Worrall, F., and Clay, G.D. (2014) The potential use of heather, Calluna vulgaris, as a bioenergy crop. Biomass and Bioenergy 64, 140-151.


  • Clay, G.D. & Worrall, F. "The response of CO2 fluxes from a peat soil to variation in simulated sheep trampling." Geoderma 197-198(2013) : 59-66.
  • Reed, M.S., Hubacek, K., Bonn, A., Burt, T.P., Holden, J., Stringer, L.C., Beharry-Borg, N., Buckmaster, S., Chapman, D., Chapman, P., Clay, G.D., Cornell, S., Dougill, A.J., Evely, A., Fraser, E.D.G., Jin, N., Irvine, B., Kirkby, M., Kunin, W., Prell, C., Quinn, C.H., Slee, W., Stagl, S., Termansen, M., Thorp, S., & Worrall, F. "Anticipating and managing future trade-offs and complementarities between ecosystem services." Ecology & Society 18, no. 1.
  • Worrall, F, Clay, G.D., Burt, T.P. & Rose, R. "The multi-annual nitrogen budget of a peat-covered catchment — Changing from sink to source?" Science of The Total Environment 433(2012) : 178-188.
  • Worrall, F., Clay, G.D., & May, R. "Controls upon biomass losses and char production from prescribed burning on a UK moorland: results from laboratory and field experiments." Journal of Environmental Management 120(2013) : 27-36
  • Worrall, F., Clay, G.D., Masiello, C., Mynheer, G. "Estimating the oxidative ratio of the global terrestrial biosphere carbon." Biogeochemistry 115, no. 1-3(2013) : 23-32.
  • Worrall, F; Clay, G.D. "The impact of sheep grazing on the carbon balance of a peatland." Science of the Total Environment 438(2012) : 426-434 


  • Clay, G.D., Dixon, S., Evans, M.G., Rowson, J.G., and Worrall, F. Carbon dioxide fluxes and DOC     concentrations of eroding blanket peat gullies Earth Surface Processes and Landforms DOI: 10.1002/esp.3193
  • Clay, Gareth D, Dixon, Simon, Evans, Martin G, Rowson, James G, and Worrall, Fred. "Carbon dioxide fluxes and DOC concentrations of eroding blanket peat gullies." Earth Surface Processes and Landforms 37, no. 5(2012) : 562-571
  • Clay, Gareth D, Worrall, Fred, and Aebischer, Nicholas J. "Does prescribed burning on peat soils influence DOC concentrations in soil and runoff waters? Results from a 10 year chronosequence." Journal of Hydrology 448(2012) : 139-148
  • Daniels, S. M., Evans, M. G., Agnew, C. T., Allott, T. E. H.,Ammonium release from a blanket peatland into headwater stream systems. Environmental Pollution 163, 261-272
  • Dousova, B., Buzek, F., Rothwell, J.J., Krejcova, S., Lhotka, M. (2012). Adsorption behaviour of arsenic relating to different natural solids: Soils, stream sediments and peats. Science of the Total Environment, 433,
  • Evans, M., Quine, T. and Kuhn, N. Geomorphology and terrestrial carbon cycling. Earth Surface Processes and Landforms38(1)  103-105
  • Pawson, R. R., Evans, M. G. and Allott, T. E. H. A., Fluvial carbon flux from headwater peatland streams: significance of particulate carbon flux. Earth Surface Processes and Landforms, 37: 1203–1212.
  • Worrall, F. Davies, H., Bhogal, A., Lilly, A., Evans, M., Turner, K., Burt, T., Barraclough, D., Smith, P., Merrington G.(2012) The flux of DOC from the UK – Predicting the role of soils, land use and net watershed losses, Journal of Hydrology, Volumes 448–449, Pages 149-160,


  • Bain, C.G., Bonn, A., Stoneman, R., Chapman, S., Coupar, A., Evans, M., Gearey, B., Howat, M., Joosten, H., Keenleyside, C., Labadz, J., Lindsay, R., Littlewood, N., Lunt, P., Miller, C.J., Moxey, A., Orr, H., Reed, M., Smith, P., Swales, V., Thompson, D.B.A., Thompson, P.S., Van de Noort, R., Wilson, J.D. & Worrall, F. (2011) IUCN UK Commission of Inquiry on Peatlands. IUCN UK Peatland Programme, Edinburgh.
  • Brazier, R., Anderson, K., Quine, T., Quinton, J., Evans, M., Rickson, J., Bellamy, P., Rawlins, B., and Ellis, M. Developing a cost-effective frame work for monitoring soil erosion in England and Wales. Final report to DEFRA SP1303
  • McMorrow, J. Wildfire in the UK: status and key issues. In: McCaffrey, S.M. and Fisher, C.L.(eds) 2011. Proceedings of the second conference on the Human Dimensions Of Wildland Fire. Gen. Tech. Rep. NRS-P-84. Newtown Square, PA: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Northern Research Station. 195p. pp 44-56.
  • Rothwell, J.J., Taylor, K.G., Evans, M.G., and Allott, T.E.H.Contrasting controls on arsenic and lead budgets for a degraded peatland catchment in Northern England, Environmental Pollution, 159(10)  3129-3133,
  • Worrall, F., Rowson, J.G., Evans, M.G., Pawson, R., Daniels, S. and Bonn, A. Carbon fluxes from eroding peatlands – the carbon benefit of revegetation following wildfire Earth Surface Processes and Landforms 36(11) 1487-1498


  • Albertson, K., Aylen, J., Cavan, G, and McMorrow, J. (2010) Climate change and the future occurrence of moorland wildfires in the Peak District of the UK. Climate Research, vol 45, CR Special 24: 105-118. Online C 926,
  • Billett M.F., Charman D.J., Clark J.M., Evans C.D., Evans M.G., Ostle N.J.,Worrall F., Burden A., Dinsmore K.J., Jones T., McNamara N.P., Parry L., Rowson J.G., Rose R. Carbon balance of UK peatlands: current state of knowledge and future research challenges. Climate Research 45 13-29
  • Clark, J.M., Billett, M.F., Coyle, M., Croft, S.,  Daniels, S., Evans, C.D., Evans, M., Freeman, C., Gallego-Sala, A.V., Heinemeyer, A., House, J.I., Monteith, D.T., Nayak, D., Orr, H.G., Prentice, I.C., Rose, R., Rowson, J.., Smith, J.U., Smith, P., Tun, Y.M., Vanguelova, E.. Wetterhall, F., Worrall F. Model inter-comparison between statistical and dynamic model assessments of the long-term stability of GB blanket peat (1940-2099) Climate Research 45 227-248.
  • Clark, J.M., Gallego-Sala A., Allott, T.E.H., Chapman, S., Farewell, T., Freeman, C., House, J., Orr, H.G., Prentice, I.C. & Smith, P. "Assessing the vulnerability of blanket peat to climate change using an ensemble of statistical bioclimatic envelope models." Climate Research 45(2010) : 131-150.
  • Evans M. and Warburton, J.  Peatland geomorphology and carbon cycling Geography Compass 4(10) 1513–1531, Invited Contribution
  • Evans, M. and Lindsay, J. High resolution quantification of gully erosion in upland peatlands at the landscape scale. Earth Surface Processes and Landforms 35(8) 876-886
  • Evans, M.G. and Lindsay, J.  The impact of gully erosion on carbon sequestration in blanket peatlands  Climate Research   45 31-41.
  • House, J., Clark, J., Gallego-Sala, A., Orr, H., Aylen, J., Bardgett, R., Billett, M., Bonn A., Caporn, S., Chapman, S., Clutterbuck, B., Evans, C., Evans, M., Farewell, T., Freeman, C.,  Grayson, R., Hall, J., Holden, J., McMorrow, J., Milledge, D., Nayak, D., Ostle, N., Parry, L., Prentice, C., Stevens, C., Smith, J., Smith, P., Vanguelova, E., Ward, S., Waldron, S., White, S.,  Worrall, F., Yallop A. Vulnerability of upland peatland services to climate change.  Environment Agency Science Report SC070036/SR.
  • Lindley, S., McMorrow. J. and Bonn, A. (2010) Moorland Wildfires in the UK Peak District, Settele, J., Penev, L., Georgiev, T., Grabaum, R., Grobelnik, V., Hammen, V., Klotz, S. and Kühn, I. (Eds). Atlas of Biodiversity Risk. Pensoft. Sofia. ISBN 978-954-642-446-4. FP6 Project ALARM, Assessing LArge scale environmental Risks for biodiversity with tested Methods,
  • Rothwell, J.J., Lindsay, J.B., Evans, M.G., Daniels, S.M., Allott, T.E.H. Modelling suspended sediment lead concentrations in contaminated peatland catchments using digital terrain analysis. Ecological Engineering. 36(5) 623-630
  • Rothwell, J.J., Taylor, K.G., Chenery, N.,  Cundy, A.B., Evans, M.G., and Allott, T.E.H.  Storage and Behavior of As, Sb, Pb, and Cu in Ombrotrophic Peat Bogs under Contrasting Water Table Conditions Environmental Science and Technology DOI: 10.1021/es101150w
  • Tipping, E., Rothwell, J.J., Shotbolt, L., Lawlor, A.J. (2010). Dynamic modelling of atmospherically- deposited Ni, Cu, Zn, Cd and Pb in Pennine catchments (Northern England). Environmental Pollution, 158,
  • Warburton, J and Evans M. Geomorphic, sedimentary and palaeoenvironmental significance of peat blocks in alluvial river systems Geomorphology 130(3-4) 101-114


  • Albertson, K., Aylen, J., Cavan, G. and McMorrow, J. (2009) ‘Forecasting the outbreak of moorland wild fires in the English Peak District’ International Journal of Environmental Management vol.90 (8):.2642-2651, doi:10.1016/j.jenvman.2009.02.011. 
  • Allott, T.E.H. "The state of freshwater ecosystems." In Drivers of change in upland environments, ed. Bonn, A., Allott, T., Hubacek, K. & Stewart, J, 135-155. Abingdon and New York: Routledge, 2009.
  • Bonn, A., Allott, T., Hubacek, K & Stewart, J. "Drivers of change in upland environments: concepts and threats." In Drivers of change in upland environments, ed. Bonn, A., Allott, T., Hubacek, K. & Stewart, J, 1-10. Abingdon and New York: Routledge, 2009.
  • Bonn, A., Allott, T., Hubacek, K & Stewart, J. "Managing change in the uplands: challenges and opportunities." In Drivers of change in upland environments, ed. Bonn, A., Allott, T., Hubacek, K. & Stewart, J, 475-494. Abingdon and New York: Routledge, 2009.
  • Bonn, A., Allott, T., Hubacek, K & Stewart, J. Drivers of Change in Upland Environments. Routledge Studies in Ecological Economics. Abingdon and New York: Routledge, 2009.
  • Goulsbra, C. S., Lindsay, J.B. and Evans M. G.  A new approach to the application of electrical resistance sensors to measuring the onset of ephemeral streamflow in wetland environments, Water Resour. Res., 45, W09501, doi:10.1029/2009WR007789
  • McMorrow, J.M, Lindley, S.J., Aylen, J., Cavan, G., Albertson, K. and Boys, D. (2009a) Moorland wildfire risk, visitors and climate change: patterns, prevention and policy. In Bonn, A.  Allott, T., Hubacek, K., and Stewart, J.(Eds) Drivers of Change in Upland Environments, Routledge, Ch 23; pp 404-431.
  • Rothwell, J.J., Taylor, K.G., Ander, E.L., Evans, M.G., Allott, T.E.H. Arsenic retention and release in ombrotrophic peatlands. Science of the Total Environment, 407 (4), 1405-1417
  • Worrall, F., Evans, M.G., Bonn, A., Reed, M.S., Chapman, D., and Holden, J. (2009)Can carbon offsetting pay for upland ecological restoration? Science of the Total Environment 408(1) 26-36


  • Crowe, S.K., Evans, M.G. and Allott, T.E.H. Geomorphological controls on the re-vegetation of erosion gullies in blanket peat: implications for bog restoration. Mires and Peat 3 1-14
  • Daniels, S.M., Agnew, C.T., Allott, T.E.H., and Evans, M.G.  Water table variability and runoff generation in an eroded peatland, South Pennines, UK, Journal of Hydrology 361(1-2) 214-226
  • Daniels. S.M., Evans, M.G., Agnew, C.T., and Allott, T.E.H.  Sulphur leaching from headwater catchments in an eroded peatland, South Pennines, U.K Science of the Total Environment407 481-496
  • Hutchinson, S.M., Rothwell, J.J. (2008). Mobilisation of sediment-associated metals from historical smelting and milling sites on the River Sheaf, Sheffield, UK. Environmental Pollution, 155, 61-71.
  • Lindsay, J.B., Rothwell, J.J., Davies, H. (2008). Mapping outlet points used for watershed delineation onto DEM-derived stream networks. Water Resources Research, 44, W08442.
  • McMorrow, J. Legg, C., Aylen, J. and Walker, J. (2009b) Ways forward for the management of wildfire in the UK’ Paper presented at Wildfire 2009, Lyndhurst, Hampshire, 16-17 June.
  • Pawson, R.R., Lord, D.R., Evans, M.G., and Allott, T.E.H. Fluvial organic carbon flux from an eroding peatland catchment, southern Pennines, UK Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci. 12 625-634
  • Rothwell, J.J., Evans, M.G., Allott, T.E.H. In-stream processing of sediment-associated metals in peatland fluvial systems. Water, Air and Soil Pollution 187 53-64.
  • Shotbolt, L.A., Rothwell, J.J., Lawlor, A.J. (2008). A mass-balance approach to determining lead fluxes in the southern Pennines, north-central England. Earth Surface Processes and Landforms, 33, 1721-1741.

Research catchment

The Upper North Grain catchment lies close to the summit of Snake Pass in the High Peak between Manchester and Sheffield. The catchment is on the National Trust High Peak estate and with the permission of the National Trust is used as a field research and teaching laboratory by the Uplands Research Unit. The catchment is heavily instrumented to support a variety of current projects. The base instrumentation includes and automatic weather station, stream flow and sediment flux monitoring, and groundwater measurements.

Catchment Area: 0.38 km2.
Altitude range: 490-541 m
Latitude: 52º 27'
Annual rainfall: 1200 mm
Principal Soils: Blanket peat
Vegetation: Heather, Bilberry, Cotton grass
Erosion patterns: Active Bower type I erosion

Virtual fieldwork

The Dark Peak Virtual Fieldwork site provides a virtual introduction to peatland environments in the South Pennines, focussing in particular on the Bleaklow Plateau. It is used for first year geography teaching at the University of Manchester but there is material here that will be useful to sixth form geographers and of interest to all with enthusiasm for the uplands of Britain.