Lancashire Peat Partnership

Lancashire Peat Partnership

Winmarleigh Moss - Jenny Bennion

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.

What's so special about peat?

Bare peat at Winmarleigh Moss - Jenny Bennion

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.

Water filtration

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.

What does the Lancashire Peat Partnership aim to do?

The Lancashire Peat Partnership brings together all relevant organisations who have an interest in peatland areas in Lancashire. We aim to promote the importance of peatland restoration, work together to deliver restoration projects, secure funding, and to share knowledge, information and research findings.

Everyone involved in the Lancashire Peat Partnership is passionate about peat, and by working together we know that we can achieve so much more than by working alone.

Hare's-tail cotton-grass (Eriophorum vaginatum) - Mark Hamblin/2020VISION

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 Peat Partnership projects

At any time, one or more of our partners could be working on various peatland restoration projects throughout Lancashire. These may be individuals’ projects or involve partners coming together to pool resources and knowledge.

Find out more about some of our current projects below:

Brown hare posing - Andrew Parkinson

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

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

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. 

Further resources

Please check out the links below for lots more information about the work of the Lancashire Peat Partners and UK peatland restoration policy.

Juvenile common frog on green sphagnum moss

Juvenile common frog {Rana temporaria} on sphagum moss {Sphagnum sp} - Ross Hoddinott/2020VISION

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
E: sjohnson@lancswt.org.uk
T: 01772 324223

How you can help

Here are just a few ways that you can help our precious peatlands to recover.