Bog restoration project taking shape


A project to restore Dartmoor's peat bogs is already reversing habitat loss.

The South West Peatland Partnership (SWPP) is aiming to restore degraded peatland on the Devon moor as part of a £13-million project. The restoration is required because Dartmoor's peat bogs have been severely damaged or dried out through industry, ordnance testing by the Ministry of Defence and climate change.

The partnership has been blocking gullies and creating pools of water across a 33-ha site at the head of the River Plym. It said the process helped to reduce run-off, raising and stabilising the water table within the peat.

The peat bog restoration project on Dartmoor aims to help breeding waders such as Dunlin (Andrew Jordan).


Restoring wetlands

Jonny Robinson-Noades, a project officer for SWPP, said it was a slow process – but it was working. He said: "We are altering the landscape to bring back a wetland.

"These wetlands would have been here before we had all of the human intervention a long time ago, so to see a habitat being restored, albeit slowly, it just really makes my heart sing."

The partnership is made up of South West Water, Dartmoor National Park Authority, the National Trust and Exmoor National Park Authority.


Bog life

The bogs are a vital habitat for amphibians and insects, as well as breeding waders such as Eurasian Curlew and Dunlin. Work on the site is to halt at the end of March to not disturb nesting birds.

Steve Edmonds, a peatland ranger for the National Trust, said: "There's not many parts of the world that have blanket bog like we've got on Dartmoor, Exmoor and Bodmin. It's really important to keep it as pristine as we can."