A major programme of peatland restoration has been completed on a Ministry of Defence training estate in Cumbria – helping to deliver multiple environmental benefits.

The North Pennines AONB Partnership and the MOD have been restoring bare peat on the Warcop Training Range in Cumbria since 2013.

Through the Pennine PeatLIFE programme, a major project to restore peatlands along the length of the Pennine chain, the AONB Partnership has been able to increase the rate of restoration during the past three years. The healthy peat acts to capture carbon, helping to mitigate climate change. It helps provide clean drinking water and slows the flow of water off the hill, reducing the impact of flooding further downstream.

During the seven years of restoration work, the AONB Partnership has installed coir rolls and wooden damns as well as planted cotton grass plug plants. The additional funding through the Pennine PeatLIFE programme meant that a future 140 coir rolls were installed. It is calculated that by raising the hydrology of the blanket bog and re-vegetating the bare peat, this will prevent the loss of 3,221 tonnes during the next 30 years.

Paul Leadbitter, peatland programme manager for the North Pennines AONB Partnership, said: “This has been a multi-year project which, because of the nature of the site, has had its own unique constraints. We’re grateful for the support from the MOD in getting this major piece of conservation work completed and we’d also like to thank our contractors, Dinsdale Moorland Specialists for their efficient delivery of the work.”

Major Mick Lynch from the MOD said: “It was a challenge to make sure the site, which is actively used for training, was safe for the AONB Partnership to come in and carry out the work each year.” The project is funded by the EU LIFE Programme and co-financed by Environment Agency, Northumbrian Water, United Utilities and Yorkshire Water.