Test 2

  • Small, pink leaves of sphagnum capilifolium

    Sphagnum. Credit: Jenny Sharman

  • Close up of flowering sundew plants

    Sundew. Credit: Lizzie Shepherd

  • Picture of hare's tail cotton grass

    Hare’s Tail Cottongrass. Credit: Tessa Levens

  • A brown bird with a long curved beak

    Curlew. Credit: Damian Waters

  • An owl pictured flying against a clear blue sky

    Short-eared owl. Credit: Pam Jones

  • Photo of a snake with zigzag patterns, curled up on green grass

    Adder. Credit: Danny Green

  • Photo of a brown lizard camouflaged in dried vegetation

    Common lizard. Credit: Ceri Katz

What’s so special about peatlands?

A unique habitat

Peatlands are home to some amazing and beautiful wildlife: including many species of sphagnum moss, the carnivorous sundew plant, hare’s tail cottongrass, curlew, short eared owl, adder and common lizard.


  • Aerial photo showing deep fissures in the bog

    Aerial photography shows the damage caused by gripping and gullying. Credit: Alistair Lockett

  • A tuft of grass overhangs bare peat

    Hags expose bare peat. Credit: Jenny Sharman

  • Photo of a deep channel cut into the bog

    Grips drain water from the uplands. Credit: Tessa Levens

How have they been used and damaged?

The effect of draining peatlands for agriculture

In the 50s and 60s, the Government paid land managers to drain blanket bog to improve the land for sheep grazing

Narrow drainage channels called ‘grips’ were dug to drain water from the fells.

Drying out the peatlands killed off the plants that live on the surface of the peat, exposing it to erosion by wind and rain.

This led to formation of deep channels (known as gullies), and steep faces of bare peat (hags), driving the formation of areas of bare peat leading into a vicious cycle of further erosion.

  • Terrain map overlaid with colourful dots showing depth of peat

    Maps provide detail on how water is moving across a given restoration site and where it is driving erosion; this enables us to target our interventions where they will have the most impact. Credit: Yorkshire Peat Partnership

  • Photo showing GPS mapper, ranging poles and paper recording sheets

    Sites are surveyed using a range of methods, but much is done on foot with hand-held GPS mapping tools. Credit: Caitlin Greenwood

How is Yorkshire Peat Partnership repairing and restoring these habitats?

The tools of our trade

Planning our approach to restoring damaged blanket bogs starts with site surveys. We conduct both desk-based and field surveys. Aerial photos used in our surveys are often provided by our in-house UAV pilots. Using handheld GPS mappers, we categorise all the features of a site, including vegetation, damage and peat depths. Yorkshire Peat Partnership’s expanding team has already surveyed nearly 59,800 hectares using these methods.

  • Helicopter in a clear blue sky dropping a net of materials onto the peat

    Helicopters are used to drop dam materials in place. Credit: Dave Higgins

  • Orange digger on the bog

    Specially adapted diggers reprofile bare peat to encourage vegetation to grow. Credit: Matthew Roberts

  • Dams across the landscape

    Coir dams criss-cross a badly damaged site. Credit: Aaron de Raat

  • Gloved hands planting a fresh green plug of plants

    Bog vegetation is planted by hand on areas of bare peat. Credit: Ben Queenborough

How is Yorkshire Peat Partnership repairing and restoring these habitats?

Transforming the landscape

Restoring damaged blanket bogs focuses on interventions that reduce the loss of water and through blocking drainage channels and re-establishing key vegetation species that play a vital role in holding water in the peatlands and covering bare peat.

Yorkshire Peat Partnership works with specialists to block grips and gullies with peat, coir, wood and stone dams, and plant sphagnum mosses and cottongrasses.

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