The first in a series of peatland restoration events was held at Edinglassie, by Huntly earlier this week. Arranged in conjunction with IUCN UK Peatland Programme, the event was aimed at those who may soon commence their own restoration project as well as those looking to gather more information on how a project can be made to work, including funding sources and practical advice.
The day got off to a great start with the arrival of the breakfast rolls that were kindly supplied by Savills. David Fyffe, NE Regional Chairman welcomed those present and gave a brief introduction. He was followed by Malcolm Hay, owner of Edinglassie who delivered a presentation on his project, how it worked, was funded and the lessons learned during the process. There then followed a brief presentation by Emma Goodyear, IUCN UK Peatland Programme Project Manager and Jillian Hoy, Peatland Code Co-ordinator who gave an overview of the work of the Programme and discussed possible funding sources, including the SRDP, the Government’s Peatland Action fund administered by SNH and the Peatland Code which levers in private finance. A short Q& A took place before we all headed to the trucks to head up the hill.
Despite the forecast being for heavy rain the sun shone during our time on the hill. It was very windy which made sure we all stayed alert. Malcom gave us a short tour of the sites he has restored. He initially showed us an area where grips had been filled in. The change was remarkable, with no trace of the previous grips visible after only 2 years. He had chosen to fill them completely with peat material from the site itself, rather than use peat plugs or plastic piling to block the drains at strategic points. This was a belt and braces approach, but the remarkable results were evident. Emma led discussion on grip blocking techniques more generally, calling on her technical expertise and experience from similar projects elsewhere. We then moved on to look at an area where hag reprofiling and sphagnum reseeding work had been done. Again, the hag reprofiling work showed impressive results. The reseeding had been less successful, but Emma pointed out that at the time Malcolm had undertaking this work approaches were still experimental and techniques are being adapted all the time to achieve better results now. Malcolm intends to revisit the reseeding work and to carry out more reprofiling of previously untouched areas in the near future, most likely utilising the Peatland Action fund.
The heavens opened the minute the last door was closed on the final truck in the travelcade; hail, rain and gusts hit the trucks as we descended the hill.
Feedback from those who attended the session was very positive and there was a great deal of praise for the speakers and for the practical elements highlighted during the time on the hill.
Thank you to Savills for sponsoring the event, to Emma and Jillian for their time and to Malcolm Hay for hosting the session. The next two restoration events will be held at Auchlyne and Suie Estate in Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park on 28 April and at Dryhope, near Selkirk in the Scottish Borders on 11th May. We also intend to hold a further two events later in the year, one at Drumlanrig Estate in Southwest Scotland and another in the Highlands.