Phase 6 - Gully Blocking

 

While decades of research have contributed to advice and planning of lime, fertiliser and seed application to stabilise peat soils, the method of gully blocking is much less understood. Gully blocking is a relatively new technique to block or ‘dam’ eroding channels within the blanket bog and raise the water table, thus addressing hydrological issues which are fundamental to a healthy moorland habitat. 

The techniques have been adapted from those used for some time to block artificial drainage grips, dug to allow drainage of the moors during a previous agricultural regime. 

Raising the water table reduces the effects of wind erosion and helps support plants (both new and existing). One of the other benefits is that if the water is slowed down by this process it could reduce the chances of flash flooding further down the catchment (e.g. in towns and cities).

Gullies can be blocked using a variety of materials including wood, plastic, stone and heather.

Gullies are naturally formed channels, whereas grips are cut, primarily for agricultural or shooting reasons.  Grip blocking is a major issue in some parts of the country, such as the North Pennines AONB. 

A series of factsheets have been produced detailing the different types techniques that are used. These are now available to download and include

Grip and Gully Blocking

Stone Dams

Plastic Dams

Peat Dams

Timber Dams

Archive information

Sept 2005 gully blocking report  (7MB) and appendix (1.8MB)

Sept 2005 research note (653kb)

 

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