Blanket Bog Restoration at Esgair Hengae

We have successfully completed our second Peatland Restoration Project here in the Elan Valley, with the aim of stopping the erosion of our valuable peat soils and rewetting 28ha of blanket bog

The main reasons for this are:

Peat is a hugely significant carbon store and we want to reduce emissions caused by the peat oxidising through erosion and drying.

To recreate conditions for further peat formation, which include being waterlogged, unlocking the amazing potential of the bog to sequester carbon.

To increase the biodiversity of species living here, for the huge benefit of wildlife and people.

To help it act as a fire break in the instance of wildfire, protecting the peat from burning, drying and eroding.

The water coming off the site into the Claerwen will also be cleaner from sediment.

What have we been doing to restore the bog?

On this site, a few simple techniques have been applied:
Gullies that were eroding and draining the peat were blocked using the peat itself, to create small dams to slow the water flow. This will reduce erosion and lead to shallow bog pools.

Any exposed eroding edges were reprofiled to create gentler slopes and the bare peat was covered up with vegetation.

Some areas across the site were in a dried-out condition, partially due to the gully network across the site. On these areas we used contour bunding, which creates small bunds along the contour of the slope, to slow the flow of water and encourage waterlogging all year round.

These photos were taken immediately after the work was completed. As you can see, the bunds and dams are already holding back water!

What does live in a bog?

These habitats may look bleak at a first glance, but look closer and there are a whole host of vibrant colours, tasty berries, and curious plants to enjoy!
This includes plants such as the colourful sphagnum mosses, insectivorous sundews, bog rosemary, cranberries, bilberries, cross leaved heath, bog asphodel, cotton grasses. There are also mammals such as the water vole and otter, birds such as the golden plover, curlew, snipe, and a whole host of invertebrates and so much more!

(Funded by National Peatland Action Programme and NRW)