Monitoring Landscape-Scale Restoration of Peatland Habitats in the South Pennines, UK, By the Moors for the Future Partnership

Rachael Maskill, Jonathan Walker, Tim Allott, Martin Evans

Proceedings of the 14th International Peat Congress


moores, restoration-of-peatlands, south-pennines

Maskill et al 2012: Monitoring Landscape-Scale Restoration of Peatland Habitats in the South Pennines, UK, By the Moors for th


Theme V. Restoration, rehabilitation and after-use of disturbed peatlands


The uplands of the Peak District and South Pennines are the most degraded in the UK. 150 years of pollution from the industrial heartlands of Lancashire, West and South Yorkshire have resulted in high levels of heavy metals within the peat (up to 1647 mg kg-1 of lead in some places, MFF 2005) and intense acidification – one site tested prior to conservation works had a pH of 2.98 (pers comms). This, together with the pressures of overgrazing, recreational use, and the devastating effects of wild fires have caused deep erosion gullies, extensive areas of bare peat and loss of biodiversity.

The Moors for the Future Partnership is a public/private partnership that works to restore some of the most severely degraded blanket bog in the UK. Based in Edale, Derbyshire, our projects stretch 80km north along the Pennines. Since 2003 we have utilised the techniques of heather brashing, geo-textiles and lime, seed and fertiliser applications to stabilise bare peat. Gully blocking with stone and timber is used to reduce the speed of water flowing down the slopes, and to trap sediment and speed up the rate of re-vegetation of gully bottoms. Sphagnum delivery helps to enhance the biodiversity of the blanket bog, and also helps increase surface roughness, and therefore also plays a part in slowing the velocity of surface run-off (Holden et al. 2008).

This is the largest blanket bog restoration programme in the UK and is currently working over 800 hectares of the Peak District National Park and South Pennines Special Area of Conservation.
Our major restoration projects are supported by extensive monitoring programmes that focus on a range of ecosystem services including biodiversity, water quality, flood-risk management and carbon storage. We have integrated these programmes in terms of shared reference sites and methodologies to enable us to investigate the impacts of restoration at greater spatial scales than previously investigated while affording considerable added value.

In this paper we will discuss the establishment of a landscape-scale integrated monitoring programme and present preliminary results on the impacts of restoration works on blanket bog ecosystem services.