A pioneering project to restore peatland at Arden Great Moor, near Helmsley, has been completed.

The £350,000 project, undertaken by Mexborough Estates, the owner of 3,000-acre Arden Great Moor, will have major and sustainable environmental benefits.

Arden Great Moor is situated in the Howardian Hills in the heart of the North York Moors National Park.

Jamie Savile, director of Mexborough Estates, said: “The restoration of peatland is now common practice across the UK and we were keen to play our part in creating a greener and healthier environment on the moor.

Darlington and Stockton Times: The pioneering project aimed to restore peatlands at Arden Great Moor, near Helmsley

“In essence, the work we have done will improve the blanket bog peatland habitat, which is some 40 centimetres-plus deep, improve the hydrological integrity of the peatland and preserve the shallower peat bodies. Taken together, these changes will benefit wildlife, create carbon sinks, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve quality of the water on the moor.

“Extensive research has shown how improvements to peatlands that have suffered from drainage problems, erosion or burning are increasingly important."

The cost of the work will be reimbursed by the Government under Countryside Stewardship Scheme.

Jamie Savile said: “Our North Yorkshire estate is part of the North York Moors National Park and contains sites of special scientific interest and special areas of conservation. They are a haven for wildlife and home to rare flora and fauna, as well as having sites of historical interest and architectural heritage.

“It is our duty to look after these sites pro-actively and responsibly. Environmental considerations are crucial and great care is taken to have a responsible stewardship and maintain the natural beauty of the environment."

The work on Great Arden Moor included:

  • Planting 180,000 Sphagnum plugs over the deep peat areas to re-establish the acrotelm and restore the capability of the peat to enable it to actively regenerate and become a carbon sink;
  • 11,104m Grip and gully blocking and re-profiling to restore the hydrological integrity of the peat mass;
  • Reprofiling and re-turfing 1,298m hags to restore the bare peat;
  • Revegetating and restoring bare peat and micro-erosion areas using brash, seed and plug plants
  • 300ha of scrub clearance to preserve protected and priority peatland habitats.

Jamie Savile concluded: “Taken together, this comprehensive overhaul of the peatland on Great Arden Moor will have lasting environmental benefits. We are custodians of the moor and we are proud to have enabled this work, which underlines our commitment to sustainable stewardship of our land.”