Moorland gardening on a grand scale

22 August 2012
Cloudberry plug plant

Last week 38,000 plants were flown and planted out by hand on Kinder Scout, in the first round of a winter programme of work that will see 300,000 new native moorland shrubs growing in the Dark Peak and South Peninne Moorlands.

Planting started on Kinder Scout after the end of the bird breeding season and was planned to avoid any potential high summer temperatures to give the plants the best chance to become established.

After being transported as far as possible by road the plants are flown to the site by helicopter in industrial-sized bags. Local contractors work by hand, planting out the plugs one by one using a traditional garden dibber.

The native shrubs will send down roots that will help stabilise areas of eroded bare peat, and will grow to provide cover that will help prevent further erosion by wind and rain.

The plug plants orginate from cuttings taken from a small sample of moorland native plants – Common Cotton and Hares Tail Cotton Grasses, Bilberry, Crowberry, Cloudberry and Cross Leaved Heath. These samples are grown on, resulting in thousands of plug plants ready for use.

In the next few weeks the work will move northwards to Bleaklow and Saddleworth, followed by Rishworth Comon, Heptonstall and Turley Holes.

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