Over 40% of the UK's upland hay meadows are found in the North Pennines AONB! his is now a rare habitat throughout Europe and recognised as of European Importance.
The best upland hay meadows are very species-rich and differ from lowland hay meadows in having several characteristic northern species such as wood cranes-bill, globeflower, marsh hawks-beard and melancholy thistle. A special group of upland hay meadow plants called Lady's mantles are also found here, six of which are rare and three of which are found nowhere else in the UK.
Upland hay meadows are very important to breeding birds like yellow wagtail, redshank and lapwing and a feeding area for black grouse. The best upland hay meadows are now scattered across the dales in the AONB. The best examples are found in the upper parts of Teesdale, Weardale, and the South Tyne Valley, as well as parts of Lunedale, Baldersdale and East Allendale.