Yorkshire Water moorland sites

The Yorkshire Water project is protecting active blanket bog by restoring bare and eroding peat in the South Pennine Moors Special Area of Conservation and Special Protection Area.

The sites include Heptonstall and Widdop, Humberstone Bank, High Woodale and Katty White’s Allotment in Nidderdale, Thurlstone and Soyland and are typical of the degraded moorland we are aiming to restore to its former state.

 Heptonstall Moor

On all of these sites the blanket bog has been severely damaged by:

  • pollution that dates back to the industrial revolution
  • wild fires
  • erosion from wind and rain
  • inappropriate grazing

Peat-forming Sphagnum moss, which has almost disappeared because of industrial pollution and wildfires, and other key upland plants – heather, (Calluna and Erica species), cottongrass, bilberry, crowberry and cloudberry - will be introduced.

The blanket bogs are home to many important birds including the whinchat, wheatear, stonechat, merlin, short eared owl, curlew and golden plover.

Much of the water for the North of England comes from the Pennine moors. Our work helps keep the water cleaner by preventing peat sediment getting into reservoirs.

What's been done

We are blocking up grips - channels that were cut in the past to attempt to drain the land and make it suitable for grazing - and natural gullies. This will increase water levels and slow the water flow. It also traps peat sediment and helps prevents it getting into water destined for our water supply.

The grips and gullies are being re-profiled where necessary to make them less steep and more meandering, reducing water flow and giving vegetation a better chance of growing back.

We spread heather brash on patches of exposed peat to help stabilize and protect it from erosion from wind and rain.

We have applied lime to reduce the acidity caused by pollution. This is followed up with an application of seed and fertilizer to provide a nurse crop of vegetation.

What's happening next

We will continue to apply lime, seed and fertiliser and introduce plug plants of cottongrass, bilberry, crowberry and crossed-leaved heath.

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