Key peatland projects

We care for peatland across the UK, protecting it through research, conservation and sensitive management. These are our key projects.

Y Gamriw on Abergwesyn Commons, Powys

Abergwesyn Common, Powys

Abergwesyn Common is a huge upland of 6,677ha, which had extensive areas of deep peat and blanket bog in poor condition through overgrazing by sheep and burning. With Biffaward’s support, we’ve been able to restore 1,000ha of blanket bog and 600ha of peatland, including 50ha of bare peat.

Walker, cyclist and Dartmoor ponies, Dartmoor National Park, Devon

Dartmoor and the Upper Plym Valley

Well-known for its extensive peat bogs, we are working with other partners on moorland management for carbon conservation and promoting low-carbon management. Commoners are signed up to a Higher Level Scheme agreement to manage the site for the benefit of wildlife, archaeology and peat.

The Yorkshire Dales National Park

Malham Tarn Estate, Yorkshire Estate

Recognised as one of the most species-diverse areas in the UK for land above 300m, the land around Malham Tarn (a lake) includes bog, fen, carr, woodland, limestone pavement and grasslands. We’ve been able to halt some of the damaging draining of the bog to improve its condition and that of the Tarn.

View looking north from Wessenden Head towards Wessenden Reservoir on Marsden Moor Estate, West Yorkshire.

Marsden Moor, Yorkshire

Much management has been carried out in recent years to improve the condition of the peat in over 2000 hectares of blanket bog and other upland habitats on this wild expanse of moorland.

Visitors beside the river at Mottisfont, Hampshire, in autumn

Mottisfont, Hampshire

The Mottisfont Estate in the valley of the River Test has a special floodplain landscape. We have opened up the peat and wetland habitats to visitors, and regular guided walks are available from Mottisfont Abbey.

Sheep at Edale Rocks on Kinder Scout under a blue sky with clouds and the moorland behind.

Peak District and Dark Peak Estate, Derbyshire

The Peak District is the home of the best researched but most chronically eroded peat in the UK. Our ambition is to not only conserve but also restore areas of damaged peat. A famous example is Kinder Scout where Biffaward funded a major programme of gully blocking to stem the peat loss and restoration of more than 20ha of blanket bog and 50ha of upland heathland on Kinder. Work continues apace, now funded by United Utilities.

Village of Ysbyty Ifan on River Conwy in the Wybrnant Valley

Upper Conwy Project, Gwynedd 

The River Conwy rises on the Migneint, one of the largest blanket bogs in Wales. The Migneint hosts many ground-breaking peatland research projects and has been the focus of an international peatland conference.

View across the Upper Wharfedale valley

Upper Wharfedale, North Yorkshire

A stunning landscape of steep, rocky limestone slopes below peat-covered plateaux, but the bog has been severely degraded by drainage and over-grazing. Funding through Biffaward has enabled us to block 15km (9 miles) of ditches to re-wet the peat and restore 250ha of blanket bog and other mire types.

A farmer and a flock of sheep on the Wallington Estate

Wallington, Northumberland

There are valuable raised bog and other mire habitats on this large estate, but recently the focus has been on researching the impacts of land-use on the carbon content of soils. The 15 farms have provided a pilot for a carbon and land-use agri-scheme.

Reeds at Wicken Fen National Nature Reserve

Wicken Fen, Cambridgeshire

The Wicken Fen Vision is an ambitious project to create a new landscape-scale 5,300ha nature reserve over the next 100 years in a fenland peat basin near Cambridge. At its heart is 170ha of undrained fen peat, the famous Wicken Fen, and a further 80ha of land restored for nature in the 1950s. Since the project’s launch in 1999, the purchase of agricultural land and its restoration to wildlife habitat has increased Wicken Fen nature reserve to 768ha. We manage the water to let the peatland get wetter and use free-ranging Highland cattle and Konik ponies to help shape the developing habitat.

The River Blackwater

Peatland in Northern Ireland 

Northern Ireland, with its mild, wet climate, is the true home of peatbogs. Our biodiversity strategy for Northern Ireland explains some of the work we're doing to look after blanket bog on the top of Divis Mountain, overlooking Belfast; heaths on thinner peats at Fair Head, a stunning coastal headland in Co Antrim; and on Slieve Donard, the highest mountain of the Mournes in Co Down. We are restoring a superb raised bog at The Argory, Co Armagh, by blocking ditches, and removing invading woody growth on the bog surface and denser woodland around the marginal position of the lagg fen. Once in good condition, the blanket bog on Cushleake Mountain, Co Antrim, was badly burned in 2011. We are monitoring its recovery and plan to resurvey over 1,000 hectares of blanket bog next year.

Wardens at work on the High Peak Estate

Peatlands in Holland, Germany and the UK 

Peatlands were a main focus for a Leonardo da Vinci knowledge exchange project on climate change which the National Trust led. National Trust staff and volunteers visited peatlands in Holland and Germany, and Dutch and German non-governmental organisation staff visited English peatlands in the fens.

Land management for soil carbon at Wallington 

This report summarises research carried out by Durham University into land-based carbon at the National Trust's Wallington estate.