Yorkshire Wildlife Trust’s restoration work on the most eroded area of blanket bog in Yorkshire is receiving a boost with a whopping £312,000 from the grant-giving charity the Garfield Weston Foundation.

Fleet Moss is one of the most degraded upland peatlands in Yorkshire. The bog is criss-crossed with drainage ditches (grips) and erosion channels (gullies) that flush water and sediment into the Wharfe and Ure river catchments.

Yorkshire Wildlife Trust has already installed hundreds of dams and sediment traps on Fleet Moss to hold water and peat on the bog and allow vegetation to re-establish.

In some areas, though, so much sediment is eroding that the traps are already full and over-flowing within months of being installed; normally this would take years. Yorkshire Wildlife Trust urgently needs to return to build up the height on the sediment traps and plant more cotton-grass and bog mosses. Thanks to the generous funding from Garfield Weston Foundation, they can.

Philippa Charles, Garfield Weston Foundation’s director said:“Peatland is the unsung hero in the climate emergency – the UK’s peatlands store more carbon than the forests of the UK, France and Germany combined. Our trustees were delighted to support Yorkshire Wildlife Trust’s work to restore this amazing bog.”

Dr Tim Thom, Yorkshire Wildlife Trust’s Peat Programme Manager said:“This funding has come just in time. It allows us to consolidate our existing restoration, preventing further erosion and means what we plant there will have the chance to establish itself and thrive.

“Peatland restoration is an iterative process and I’m thrilled we have this opportunity to take the next steps in restoring Fleet Moss to healthy, functioning blanket bog. Thank you so much, Garfield Weston Foundation.”

Extensive restoration works, funded by Defra and the EU Life Programme and delivered through Yorkshire Peat Partnership, are already making a difference on Fleet Moss.

The expanded restoration programme will help to keep water on the peatland, bringing the water table back to the surface, re-wetting the bog and allowing bog vegetation to re-establish and thrive.

Healthy blanket bog filters water before it reaches the drinking supply, meaning domestic supply needs less treatment. A globally important habitat, blanket bog provides a home for charismatic birds like curlew and golden plover, and colourful plants like sundews and bog asphodel.

Healthy peat also slows the flow of water off the hills, helps to manage flooding downstream, and keeps the millennia of stored carbon locked up in the peat which is crucial to tackle the climate and ecological emergency.