Lancashire Peat Partnership
The Lancashire Peat Partnership brings together organisations working to protect and restore our precious peatlands
By pooling the specialised local knowledge of numerous experts on matters affecting both upland and lowland Lancashire peatlands, we aim to secure a brighter and wilder future for these vital, yet often misunderstood habitats.
Approximately 80 per cent of UK peatlands have been damaged or destroyed, with this figure rising to 98 per cent when you look at lowland peatlands in the Lancashire region alone
Lancashire’s peatlands are a vital part of our habitat, as they provide us with:
Natural carbon stores
Peatlands act as a huge carbon store and, when healthy, are able to absorb carbon from the atmosphere, locking it away in their peaty soils for millennia. However, damaged or degraded peatlands actively leak carbon; contributing to climate change, so restoring peatlands forms a vital natural resource in the fight against climate change.
Specialised wildlife habitats
Peatlands are one of our most threatened habitats, being home to a number of specialist plants and animals that are vital to the healthy biodiversity of Lancashire’s ecosystem. Many of these species are found solely in peatlands; depending on them for their survival.
Natural flood mitigation
Peatlands provide a natural means of flood mitigation, soaking up water in times of high rainfall and releasing it slowly, thus reducing pressure on water courses further downstream.
Peatlands filter water in catchment areas, helping to improve water quality and reduce the need for costly water treatment services.
Decreased wildfire risk
A healthy peatland is wet and so less susceptible to fires.
Support landscape quality
Peatlands form part of the natural mosaic of our landscape; supporting landscape quality, natural beauty and recreation.
Where are Lancashire's peatlands?
Historically huge swathes of Lancashire, the North West and right across the UK would have been covered by upland blanket bogs, lowland raised mires and other peatland habitats. However, much of this has been drained for agriculture, shooting or peat extraction purposes.
Today peatlands can still be found in Lancashire on many of our uplands areas such as the Forest of Bowland AONB, the West Pennine Moors and the Rossendale ‘Gap’. Lowland peatlands include what remains of the Lancashire Mosslands, which are spread across the entire 335,000ha of lowland Lancashire, Greater Manchester and North Merseyside.
A map of Lancashire's peatlands can be found here.
Lancashire Peatland Initiative
The Lancashire Peatland Initiative (LPI) is a Lancashire Wildlife Trust project funded by the Esmée Fairburn Foundation. It aims to provide a co-ordinated approach to peatland work, raise awareness of its importance and secure the future protection of our peatlands through volunteer activity and sustainable funding resources.
The LPI currently provides organisational support for the Lancashire Peat Partnership. One of the activities which the LPI is coordinating is the production of an integrated outcomes report for the Lancashire peatlands, which will map both our peat resource and the benefits (such as carbon storage, natural flood management and providing clean drinking water) that will come from protecting and restoring it.
This mapping work will enable us to prioritise our work going forward, and builds on the Peat Priority Reports for the Forest of Bowland and the West Pennine Moors & the ‘Rossendale Gap’ that were produced in 2013/14, funded by the Forest of Bowland AONB and the Environment Agency.
Pennine Peat LIFE
Pennine Peat LIFE is an EU-funded project working to restore 16 sites across areas of the Pennines. The project aims to restore 1,353 hectares of eroding upland blanket bog. This will be achieved by improving hydrology, re-profiling slopes, re-vegetating and re-establishing peat forming sphagnum mosses.
The project is a collaboration between Yorkshire Peat Partnership, the North Pennines AONB, Durham County Council, the Forest of Bowland AONB, Lancashire County Council, the Environment Agency, United Utilities, Yorkshire Water and Northumberland Water.
The North of England Peat Project
This DEFRA-funded project brings together the Forest of Bowland AONB, Yorkshire Peat Partnership, Lancashire Wildlife Trust and other LPP partners to restore both lowland raised bog and upland blanket bog peatlands with a view to climate mitigation. Areas already restored have included the Abbeystead Estate in Mallowdale, and Little Woolden Moss in Greater Manchester.
Moor Carbon, led by the Peak District National Park Authority, is another DEFRA-funded project, whose work also includes the restoration of blanket bog in the West Pennine Moors SSSI, and the Rossendale Gap.
Together with stakeholders in moorland areas stretching from Buxton to Burnley, the Partnership will deliver works to allow moorland plants to flourish on areas of peat that are currently bare; helping the peat to store carbon.
Care-Peat is an Interreg project with nine partners working together to reduce carbon emissions and restore the carbon storage capacity of different types of peatlands in North West Europe.
As part of this, Lancashire Wildlife Trust is working with partners to create a pioneering ‘carbon farm’ on a pilot site at Winmarleigh, growing sphagnum moss in order to protect carbon already stored in the soils and to capture further carbon from the atmosphere, thus providing a vital natural resource in the fight against climate change. The project aims to demonstrate the new opportunities this alternative land management offers to farmers and landowners of peatland sites.
Please check out the links below for lots more information about the work of the Lancashire Peat Partners and UK peatland restoration policy.
- Information about the Lancashire Peat Partnership from 2009 to 2019 can be found on the Forest of Bowland LPP webpage.
- The IUCN UK Peatland Programme promotes peatland restoration in the UK and advocates the multiple benefits of peatlands through partnerships, strong science, sound policy and effective practice.
- The Forest of Bowland Peatland Restoration webpage contains lots of information about their current peatland restoration projects including evidence downloads and links.
- There are lots of videos showing various aspects of peatland restoration on the Lancashire Wildlife Trust YouTube channel, and the Forest of Bowland have produced an interesting video about their restoration work on the Abbeystead Estate.
Share our passion for peat
If you'd like to find out more about the Lancashire Peat Partnership, about our peatland restoration work or simply why peat is so important, do get in touch.
Sarah Johnson - Lancashire Peatland Initiative Project Manager
T: 01772 324223
How you can help
Here are just a few ways that you can help our precious peatlands to recover.