Peat Performance in the Forest of Bowland

5th April 2022

A successful peatland restoration project draws to a close as funding success for another is announced in the Forest of Bowland Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB).

The Forest of Bowland AONB Partnership announces £200,000 peatland funding from the Nature for Climate Peatland Discovery Grant scheme. This allows the Partnership to continue the recent success of the Pennine PeatLIFE project, which has restored 250 hectares of peatland.

Peat land restoration in BowlandIn the recently announced Discovery Grants, the Forest of Bowland has been awarded £200,000 as part of a successful £418,000 bid with the National Trust, Cumbria Peat Partnership and Lancashire Peat Partnership. The bid was submitted through the Great North Bog initiative; a landscape-scale approach to upland peatland restoration and conservation across nearly 7,000 square kilometres of peatland soils in the Protected Landscapes of northern England.

This funding will enable the Partnership to survey 8,500 ha of peatland – including Historic Environment features – to establish baseline data for the condition of deep peat in the AONB. Within that area, 20 sites covering over 2000 ha will be surveyed in more detail to produce restoration plans. The funding in Forest of Bowland AONB will be match-funded by United Utilities and by a private landowner.

Peatland restoration in Bowland

This project is funded by the Nature for Climate Peatland Grant Scheme (NCPGS) which provides funding to restore peatlands in the uplands and lowlands of England.

As one peatland project starts, another drew to a successful close in Forest of Bowland in 2021; Pennine PeatLIFE restored 250 ha of peatlands on United Utilities owned land at Langden Head, Webster’s Meadow and Hareden Fell.

The work, which was funded by the EU LIFE programme, United Utilities and the Environment Agency, and delivered in partnership with Yorkshire Wildlife Trust, included:

  • installing 3,451 peat, stone and timber dams in 40km of eroding gullies.
  • reprofiling and revegetating 72km of grip and eroding gully and hag edges
  • revegetating nearly 6ha of bare peat with heather brash, seed and plug plants
  • planting 16k sphagnum plugs
  • planting 64,700 cottongrass plugs

Elliott Lorimer, Forest of Bowland AONB Manager, said:

“As well as being beautiful landscapes, our peatlands are home to striking wildlife, store millennia of carbon, filter our drinking water and help to reduce the risk of flooding by 'slowing the flow'. We’ve been leading restoration activity in Forest of Bowland over the last decade and I’m really looking forward to building on that success over the next.”

Rosie Snowden, Peatland Projects Manager at Yorkshire Wildlife Trust, said:

“Peatland restoration is a long-term project. We’ve seen immediate benefits in Forest of Bowland, but it’s going take time for new peat to start to form. I’m thrilled that the AONB Partnership is going to be able to continue with this vital work.”