By KLTV Newsdesk –
Moors for the Future Partnership has completed £3.3 million worth of restoration work on degraded peatland from August 2022 to March 2023, funded by Severn Trent, Yorkshire Water, DEFRA and Natural England.
This effort involves planting sphagnum moss, which is an essential carbon store, and is able to absorb up to 20 times its own weight in water.
This helps protect and maintain the wetness of the peat underneath and hold peak water flow on the hills, instead of allowing it to overwhelm river systems below.
Sphagnum moss also works as a natural sieve for rainwater, cleaning many impurities from it before it reaches the reservoirs.
In the last six months, Moors for the Future Partnership has planted an area the size of 270 football pitches of sphagnum moss around the Peak District National Park Upper Derwent Valley.
Severn Trent is working through the Partnership on the Moor Water project, on moorland cared for by the National Trust.
This work is returning the once bleak landscape to life, providing a home for a rich selection of moorland species of plants, insects, birds and mammals.
Sphagnum moss is planted by hand in small “plugs” (the size of a 50p piece) and over time grows to fill the gaps between each plug.
The Partnership has installed five photo posts around the Derwent Valley area from which walkers can take a photo of moorland restored by the Partnership as well as areas of clough woodland restored by the National Trust, funded by Severn Trent, providing a rolling viewpoint of the work that has taken place.
Philip Straton, Moor Water Project Manager at Moors for the Future Partnership, said that the sphagnum planted goes a long way to hitting the eventual target of 625 hectares over this 5-year project with Severn Trent.
He also mentioned that the Moor Water project supports their science and monitoring work, allowing them to make sure that the techniques they’re using work and inform innovations in the future, as well as their public engagement so that people know the importance of healthy peatlands and what they can do to help protect them.
Laura Flower, Senior Catchment Management Scientist at Severn Trent, said that the work of the Partnership under the Moor Water project helps to take impurities out of the water, meaning a less intensive water treatment process is needed.
Restored moorland also provides a habitat for species of plants, animals and birds that are now starting to return to these areas after centuries of decline.
At Severn Trent, they believe that the natural environment is a fundamental part of their core business and the ultimate supplier of their product.
By improving the health of the region’s woods, soils, rivers and wetlands, they also invest in natural water filters to clean and care for their water – improving the quality and making it better than ever.