A countryside museum has added a quirky centrepiece to its collection in the form of a 'bog in a box'.

A plant-rich square metre of peatland has been placed at the centre of the Dales Countryside Museum in Hawes to highlight the importance of peat to the eco-system.

The ‘bog in a box’ installation in the museum’s exhibition hall illustrates how peat restoration has become the urgent conservation priority in the Yorkshire Dales National Park in light of the ‘climate and nature emergency’.

Surrounding the bog in a box are visual arts, music, poetry and film created by local people inspired by Dales peatlands.

Peat cutting tools drawn from the museum’s permanent collection, as well as photographs loaned by the Heseltine family of Kettlewell showing historical peat extraction, have also been put on display.

The special exhibition has been put together by Yorkshire Peat Partnership and is billed ‘Give Peat a Chance’.

It will run until 10 October.

Tim Thom, who set up Yorkshire Peat Partnership when working at the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority in 2009, urged people to visit during a speech opening the exhibition.

He said: “I would like to welcome people to this fantastic exhibition about peatlands.

"It’s our first exhibition and I can’t quite believe it’s here.

"It’s a celebration of years and years of work of peatland restoration.

"Everybody has been drawn to the bog in a box, which is remarkable to look at, and very, very talented people have contributed music, artwork and poetry.”

Sarah Smout, a cellist, singer and composer from Silsden, has contributed a poem and piece of music, which she composed after hearing skylarks on a visit to Fleet Moss, a key peatland restoration site on the Richmondshire/Craven border.

Darlington and Stockton Times: 2 Painter Ann Rutherford stands in front of her work, with composer Sarah Smout, at DCM2 Painter Ann Rutherford stands in front of her work, with composer Sarah Smout, at DCM

She said: “I got a bit obsessed with peat bogs a few years ago.

"I randomly started learning about them. I didn’t realise how amazing they are at carbon capture.

"I wanted to film music videos outdoors and got introduced to the Peat Partnership and it went from there.

"What I’d like to do is raise awareness about peat bogs and the need to restore them.”

Kevin Frea, who is Member Champion for Cultural Heritage at the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority, which runs the Dales Countryside Museum, said: “The serious side of this exhibition is about learning about the vital work Yorkshire Peat Partnership is doing to restore peat bogs.

"The sad fact is that despite the partnership’s work in the past decade, most peatland in the National Park is degrading, adding carbon dioxide to the atmosphere rather than absorbing it as it should.

"Turning that situation around is the great conservation task of this decade in the Yorkshire Dales National Park.”