One of the recipients of the newly announced peatland funding from Defra

A million-pound project to restore Dorset’s peatlands. - Dorset Wildlife Trust

Dorset Peat Partnership, led by Dorset Wildlife Trust, has been awarded a £750,000 grant from Defra's Nature for Climate Peatland Grant Scheme, matched by £250,000 from other funders and partners to fund work on 16 sites across Dorset to rewet and restore 172 hectares of fragmented and damaged peatlands.

Dorset's iconic heathlands hold the largest areas of our county's peat in 'peaty pockets' and valley mires. Peatlands are England's largest land-based carbon store, yet most of them are degraded and emitting carbon, because they are not wet enough to be building up peat. 

The grant has been awarded following 18 months of survey work by the partnership organisations and volunteers to gather data on an initial long list of 80 candidate sites across urban and rural Dorset and then to identify 16 sites where the most successful restoration can be achieved. This funding will enable restoration of these sites to hold water for longer each year which will reduce the amount of carbon emitted from degraded peat and once restored, allow carbon sequestration. The work will also improve drought and fire resilience by holding more water in the landscape during the summer and by increasing site capacity for water storage, it will also help to reduce nuisance flooding year-round. 

Dorset Wildlife Trust’s Conservation Director, Imogen Davenport said, ‘We are delighted that the hard work of the partnership to plan for restoration of some of Dorset’s precious peatlands has been recognised by the award of this grant. Our peaty pockets not only act as a carbon and water store, so keeping sites wet in drought and holding back water in flood but of course, they are home to some of our most precious and specialist wildlife. This includes sphagnum moss which plays a part in forming peat soils, insect-eating plants like sundew, and raft spiders, which sense their prey by feeling for vibrations in the water surface.’

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Posted On: 29/08/2023

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