The team kick-started a new working year with a site visit to celebrate the success of gully blocking works at Wessenden Moor. The work is being undertaken for Yorkshire Water, on National Trust owned Marsden Moor Estate, and the effect is already visible. Joining the team of Moors for the Future Partnership staff were Richard Pollitt and Rob Menzies from Natural England.

Channels in bare eroding peat have been blocked with a variety of methods, including stone, heather bales, timber and plastic. Different materials have been used to suit the situation and the desired outcomes. Project manager Chris Fry and Conservation works officer Kay Sunter explained some of the conservation techniques that have been used on Wessenden Moor.

Chris Fry showed the team areas of bare peat that have been treated with lime, grass seed and fertiliser.

Stone dams trap peat sediment, reducing the amount of peat that is washed off the moor.

Heather bales have been used to block erosion channels. In other areas plastic dams have been installed with the intention of raising the water table, which helps to rewet the bog.

The team were also showed a timber dam which has been installed in a large gully. This dam works in a similar way to the stone dam, by allowing water to flow through in times of high rainfall, but holding the eroded peat back behind the dam.

Timber dam allowing water to flow through and trapping peat sediment

In addition to the work on gully blocking, badly eroded areas have been reseeded with a nurse crop of grass that will help stabilise the bare peat and prevent further erosion. The team were able to contrast the recently work seeded in the past 12 months, with more established areas on Saddleworth Moor which is next to Wessenden.