The IUCN-UK peatland programme and the Yorkshire peat partnership

Rob Stoneman

Proceedings of the 15th International Peat Congress


partnership, peatlands, rainfall, united-kingdom



The United Kingdom (UK) straddles the British Isles, islands that lie off the western reaches of the Eurasian mainland. With a temperate air and ocean flow lapping onto the shores of the UK, these islands are marked by an intensely temperate and oceanic climate. In winter, warmed by the Gulf Stream that circulates past the British Isles from the Caribbean to the Arctic, temperatures only infrequently fall to below zero degrees centigrade. Likewise, summer temperatures are depressed the Atlantic such that over 20oC days are considered warm. Cloudiness and rain are the norm rather than the exception although England and Scotland have a marked rainfall variation from west to east; parts of Cumbria on the west coast of England have annual rainfall totals of over 3,000mm; just 400 km SE in Cambridgeshire, rainfall can be as low as 500mm. In short, much of Britain experiences a mild wet climate – the ideal conditions for peat formation. British peatlands are commonly sub-divided into bog (rain-fed only) and fen (rain and ground-water…