Around 8,700 bags of brash are to be spread over an area the size of 80 football pitches this winter as work begins to revegetate six moorland sites – in areas popular with walkers.
Funded by Natural England, as Part of the Higher Level Stewardship portfolio, this innovative scheme will see Moors for the Future Partnership undertake this work on behalf of landowners and tenants.
Walkers taking in routes at Saddleworth, Grindsbrook on Kinder Scout, areas of Bleaklow, Deer Hill Moss above Meltham and Moscar, near Ladybower Reservoir and Derwent Edge, will see work taking place over coming months.
The brash material, carefully sourced from healthy moors, will be airlifted onto site in one tonne bags and then spread by hand to form a protective layer to stabilize the surface of the bare peat.
Helicopters are used to transport the materials to the remote upland areas, far from road access and often in very sensitive habitats that would be damaged if vehicles were used.
Using helicopters is the fastest and most cost efficient way of transporting materials during winter (between October and March) ensuring we avoid the bird nesting season.
The re-establishment of healthy moorland and bog habitats brings benefits to biodiversity, climate change resilience, landscape quality, carbon sequestration, water quality, flood risk management, community, farming and grouse moor management.
A recent study calculated the carbon emissions created by this type of work. It revealed the carbon lost from areas of bare peat every year is 37 times more than the carbon dioxide emissions produced while stabilising damaged peat and re-introducing vegetation.