Gully blocking is a technique which helps to slow the flow of water off the moors, trapping sediment and keeping the moors wetter for longer. Dams can be made out of stone, plastic, wood, coir logs or heather bales depending on the location and gully conditions. Re-wetting the moors should help prevent peat drying out and create better conditions for some of the important moorland plants and wildlife.
Areas of bare peat are very susceptible to drying out and erosion by wind and water, causing peat to be lost from the moors. Planting moorland 'plug plants' is one way to help reduce this by re-vegetating bare peat with moorland plants such as cotton grass, bilberry and heather. The plug plants (small, young plants) are carried out on to the moors in trays and planted individually by hand using a tool called a dibber. The plants will hopefully grow and develop strong root system, helping to stabilise the peat and protect the ground surface.
Heather brash, or cut heather, is used to help stabilise areas of bare peat. The brash is cut from local moorlands and airlifted on to site in white builders bags. Once out on site it is then spread by hand in a thin layer over areas of bare peat. This has many purposes: protecting the surface from erosion, introducing heather seed onto the bare peat and providing a micro-climate that encourages vegetation growth.
Lime, seed & fertiliser
Although moorlands are naturally acidic some areas of the Peak District moorlands have been shown to have a pH similar to lemon juice, which is too acidic for even moorland plants to thrive. This is addressed by applying lime to help increase the pH to about 4, creating better conditions for moorland plants to grow. These areas are then treated with fertiliser and amenity grass seed, which grows quickly and helps stabilise areas of bare peat, providing better conditions for native moorland species to develop and establish.
Challenges on Marsden Moor
Moorland fire is a continual threat in spring and summer, as wildfires can cause a lot of damage to these sensitive habitats and the wildlife they support. If you see a moorland fire on Marsden Moor please report it to the Emergency Services.
Bird nesting season
Many of the birds that come to breed on the moors nest on the ground so they are very sensitive to disturbance, so from the beginning of April to the end of July we only do practical work on footpaths to keep disturbance to a minimum. Please keep your dog on a lead when on the moors during the bird nesting season.