With it being Peat Free April, we thought it was probably a good time to update you on our latest Buy Land Plant Trees project. We’ve been starting the process of restoring a peat bog!
For those of you that are new to The Flock, Buy Land Plant Trees is our Community Interest Company where we buy land and plant trees on it. Although very small scale, our philosophy is ‘think global, act local’ so we are doing our bit to help the planet and our community. We have a seven-acre field where we have planted 9,000 trees, a thirteen-acre field where we have planted 25,000 trees and last year, we bought the land on Low Fell near Loweswater in the Lake District which totals about 160 acres were we’ve now planted 100,000 trees!
From every purchase made with Chimney Sheep, 20% of the profits goes towards the project. As our loyal customers, we like to update you on what we’ve been up to, so you can see what your money has gone towards.
This will see the implementation of several measures to ‘re-wet’ depleted bog on Low Fell and start the process of long-term peat accumulation. As you probably know, we are big fans of protecting peat so this is a project we are really excited about! Peat is hugely important to the environment acting as a carbon store, helping with flood mitigation and creating habitats.
Previously an area that had lots of healthy peatland, the levels of peat on Low Fell have severely declined over the years. The primary cause of this is the drainage cuts in the terrain of Crab Tree Beck Valley. The cuts have increased the flow of water through the land and in turn, reduced the boggy areas and washed the peat away.
To solve this, our plan is to fill the cuts in the terrain with wool, sourced from neighbouring farms, stuffed into coffee sacks, donated by Carvetti Coffee (thank you, Carvetti!). The compostable sacks will act as a sponge, absorbing and slowing the flow of the water. This will raise the water table at the top of Crabtree Beck, causing the terrain to become boggier. The bogland will enable sphagnum moss to grow and over years, this will start to restore the peat bog and peatland habitat.
Although this is a long-term project with the results not coming to fruition for many years, preserving and restoring peatlands is extremely important to the environment and will improve the locality for future generations. The loss of peat through harvesting for horticulture and agriculture has been hugely damaging and could have further consequences if we don’t take action.
Did you know that degraded UK peatland is responsible for around 5% of the UK’s greenhouse gas emissions? By retaining and establishing peat bogs we can not only help reduce our emissions but also start to capture the carbon that is being released into the environment in other forms.
Peatlands also play an important role in water management. Peat can hold up to 20 times its own weight in water which helps to regulate water flows, playing a key role in flood prevention. We’ve had lots of flooding in Cumbria over the years so this is also really key to the local area.
As you know, one of our biggest priorities with Buy Land Plant Trees is to promote biodiversity. Peat bogs provide unique, natural habitats for many scarce species of flora and fauna that only survive in these wet, boggy habitats. We are going to be working closely with Cumbria Wildlife Trust in this restoration project to increase the biodiversity of the area by planting more wildflowers and reintroducing native montane plants, like eared willow and tea-leafed willow, onto Low Fell. This will encourage now rare species of pollinating wildlife back to the area which is a really exciting prospect!
So, hopefully you can see what an important project this is! If you want to learn a bit more about peat, then head over to our latest blog post which (you’ve guessed it), is all about peat and peat bogs! You can also help to protect peatlands by choosing peat-free gardening products.
As always, a huge thank you to you for all of your purchases. Without them, we wouldn’t be able to do any of this.
That’s all for now, but we’ll keep you updated.
*The Planting for Pollinators project is funded by the Government’s Green Recovery Challenge Fund. The fund was developed by Defra and its Arm’s-Length Bodies. It is being delivered by The National Lottery Heritage Fund in partnership with Natural England, the Environment Agency and Forestry Commission.