Plan to replenish Bowland Fells land damaged 60 years ago

Plan to replenish Bowland Fells land damaged 60 years ago

06 February 2011

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United Kingdom — A SCHEME to restore remote peat bogs is being launched 60 years after they were ravaged by fire.

A remote 70 hectare area on Bowland Fells in the Ribble Valley is to be fenced off for up to 15 years to allow the area to recover.

Since the large wildfires in 1951, the land has been ‘overgrazed’ and the fences are aimed at keeping the sheep away.

Heather cuttings have been spread on bare areas while on steeper parts ‘logs’ made from coir- a natural fibre extracted from coconut husk – will be placed to capture peat as it moves downslope.

Experts said this would provide a ‘stable surface’ for seed germination.

Natural England has provided funding for the work after the land, owned by United Utilities, was designated a site of Special Scientific Interest and Special Protection.

Caroline Holden, land agent for UU said: “The ultimate aim is to restore the moors to their former glory, safeguarding important bird-breeding areas, wildlife habitats and restoring natural raw water catchment land, will improve the quality of water at the tap.

”By restoring blanket bogs such as those within the Forest of Bowland so that they function as naturally as possible, we will improve the ability of our upland environment to mitigate the unavoidable impacts of climate change.”

The Forest of Bowland, popular with walkers and wildlife enthusiasts, is a significant water catchment area that supplies 250,000 homes in East and West Lancashire.

Pete Wilson, biodiversity officer for UU, said: “This is an amazing piece of work which has far reaching benefits for wildlife and society.

“It will take several years before the full benefits are realised, but already you can see a difference.”

The work will not affect access for walkers.

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