Last modified: 04 January 2016
Image: Jon Bird
Blanket bog is a globally scarce habitat, which plays an important role in storing carbon, improving water quality and giving wildlife a home.
The upland areas of the Peak District used to boast thriving blanket bogs but a combination of industrial pollution, wildfires and heavy grazing, left them seriously damaged with large areas of exposed bare peat.
Restoring blanket bogs involves re-covering bare peat with vegetation, repairing eroded gullies and planting sphagnum moss, the essential building block of the bog.
Over the past five years, staff and volunteers from the RSPB have already restored vegetation to large areas of bare peat and repaired gullies at Dove Stone, which it co-manages with landowner United Utilities.
This work will continue with the Spreading the Mosses project, which involves planting over 70,000 individual handfuls of sphagnum moss across a 100 hectares of moorland (around 150 football pitches) with the help of a team of volunteers.
Healthy bogs can provide great benefits both for people and wildlife. As they gradually recover, they’ll help tackle climate change by locking up harmful carbon, improve water quality by acting as a natural filtration system and help threatened moorland birds including curlews, golden plovers and dunlins.
Gareth Roberts, Project Officer for Spreading the Mosses, says: “Ever since moving to the Peak District 15 years ago, I’ve wanted to do my bit in helping to protect this landscape and the wildlife that depends on it. Over the past five years the RSPB and their wonderful volunteers, together with United Utilities, have already made great progress in restoring the bogs at Dove Stone and I am proud and excited to be continuing such important nature conservation work.
“I would love to hear from people who are equally passionate about the moors of the Peak District and who would be interested in working as a volunteer on this project. You’ll learn some new skills, keep fit and meet some likeminded people.”
Dove Stone forms part of a 57,000 hectare estate of water catchment land owned by United Utilities throughout the North West. It is ten years since the company began its award-winning programme of landscape restoration known as SCaMP.
Simon Boyland, Integrated Catchment Strategy Manager at United Utilities explained how the benefits are now becoming apparent:“We’ve transformed thousands of hectares of bare peat with sphagnum moss and blocked up miles of drainage ditches to re-establish boggy areas. Already we are seeing increasing numbers of birds and we are just starting to see evidence of improved water quality entering our reservoirs.
“Landscape restoration is a long-term process and it’s wonderful to see more good work starting here at Dove Stone.”
Find out what birds are visiting your school grounds by getting involved in our annual Big Schools' Birdwatch.
Find out more
Tag your tweets: #Homesfornature