Peatland Restoration Project : Rivers Alport and Ashop

The Peatland Restoration Project : Rivers Alport and Ashop was a joint initiative between the National Trust and the Moors for the Future Partnership. All of the land within the project is owned and managed by the National Trust.The project aims to improve water quality by halving the amount of peat entering water systems in the Ashop and Alport river catchments by 2015.

The Project was awarded £2.2m through Defra’s Catchment Restoration Fund (administered by the Environment Agency) which represents the largest single project award out of the 42 successful projects funded nationally.

CRF Board visit to Kinder Scout in typical Peak District weather

Bare peat erodes at a rate of 2.5cm per year and is a particular problem as it washes off the moors in rainy weather into rivers and streams. The peat often contains heavy metals, the result of industrial pollution, and organic phosphorous which can impact wildlife and reduce water quality.

Project work

Work started on the Edge on the northern slopes of Kinder Scout in the Making Space for Water project.

The project continued the stabilisation process to ensure that native moorland vegetation can colonise the site and prevent it returning to bare peat. Heather brash (cuttings taken when the seed is ripe) were spread and a further application of lime, seed and fertiliser was made. Gully systems were blocked with timber and stone dams to trap eroding peat and raise water levels in adjacent peat. Sphagnum moss, a key peat building plant, was re-established by application of sphagnum beads, plugs and hummocks, including a large trial to get Sphagnum established quickly.

Work is now complete. By the end of the project, 1060 stone and timber dams had been built and 8,500 bags of heather brash airlifted and spread on patches of bare peat.

An area of 17 hectares on Seal Edge on Kinder Scout was treated with heather brash and geo-textiles to stabilise bare peat, followed by an application of lime, seed and fertiliser. Plugs of cotton grass were also planted to continue the stabilisation of the peat.

The work will help the Rivers Ashop and Alport to meet the requirements of the Water Framework Directive, help move the areas of SSSI towards a ‘favourable condition’ and improve habitats for wildlife. 

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