CLIMATE change is being blamed for swathes of heather moorland being damaged across the country.

The National Trust says in some areas up to 75 per cent of heather is in poor health due to last year’s drought and damage from the heather beetle.

The damage has been noted in areas of Northern England, Scotland and Wales.

The mild winter last year has also led to an increase in the heather beetle numbers which are a natural element of the heather ecosystem, as it wasn’t cold enough to kill of their larvae, the Trust has said.

Some areas of moorland around Craven are losing their purple hue, though experts say there is no immediate cause for alarm.

They explain heather is a resilient plant and is capable of regenerating from the rootstock or from seed.

Anne Gray, director of the Heather Trust said the heather could recover. She said: “Though plants can look dead, they are often not and will recover if they get decent growing conditions in following years.”