Project will restore peatlands to Forest of Bowland

Work has started to restore bogs in Lancashire and Yorkshire through Pennine PeatLIFE, a major project restoring peatlands along the length of the Pennine chain.

The Forest of Bowland
The Forest of Bowland

April sees the start of the bird-breeding season and the end of the restoration season on our upland peatlands.

Forest of Bowland, Nidderdale and North Pennines Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) and Yorkshire Dales National Park are internationally recognised for their beauty, attracting visitors from around the world.

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The fell tops are carpeted with blanket bog; a peatland habitat that does so much – storing carbon, filtering drinking water, managing flooding – without being seen or appreciated. But damage to that habitat has seen carbon escaping into the atmosphere and our river systems.

After a year of surveying and planning, work got underway to restore 250 hectares of peatlands in Forest of Bowland AONB. This will help Lancashire contribute to the UK’s net zero by 2050 target by preventing an estimated 28,540 tonnes of carbon emissions over the next 30 years.

The works are taking place on United Utilities land, in Forest of Bowland, near the summit of Fair Snape Fell and will include over 2,000 stone sediment traps to slow the flow of water and retain the peat on the fells.

The traps will be built from 3,000 tonnes of stones reclaimed from the water intakes of United Utilities reservoirs. So far, contractors have completed 96 stone sediment traps (using 108 tonnes of stone); flown 197 three metre long coir logs up onto site along with enough timber for the 144 timber dams they will construct in mid-July.

Forest of Bowland AONB Manager, Elliott Lorimer, said: “After a year of detailed planning, it’s great to see work starting on the ground. The partners within Pennine PeatLIFE have world-leading expertise in peatland restoration – we are taking landscape scale action that will have multiple benefits both locally and globally for nature recovery and in addressing the climate emergency.”

Yorkshire Wildlife Trust’s Peatland Restoration Officer, co-ordinating work in Forest of Bowland, Dr. Chris Miller said: “The erosion of the peat in Bowland is quite considerable.

"You will be walking along and suddenly there is water disappearing down a two metre hole in the ground, and there is a gully that’s wider than the M6. Thanks to the funding we have received, we will be able to slow down the water flow to help the peatland to recover.”