Peatland Restoration Day
Ten volunteers plus 5 members of the Peatland Restoration Team set out on a snowy, but bright, Saturday morning this past weekend to the peat hills of the East Kames.
The day started with a tour of the site, looking at the restoration work that has been carried out by the SAT Woodlands Team and Sean MacKenzie with his digger, which has transformed this bit of land recently. The volunteers and staff had plenty to do, with a wide range of tasks from peat dam building, planting bog vegetation and re-profiling hags.
Volunteer, Ali Grundon said “It was an opportunity to get involved with some practical nature conservation, enjoy some fresh air, a bit of exercise, great views and good company.”
The Peatland Restoration team built a shed for shelter from the extreme exposure that comes with the Kames altitude. Volunteers were able to make use of this to enjoy tea and cake during the day! The spade in the foreground of the photograph was custom designed by Paul Goddard and made by The Malakoff. This design enables the Peatland Team to reach the depths and leverage they need to re-profile the hags of peat.
James Hedges and Dirk Robertson used the spades to demonstrate how the overhangs of peat on the banks are re-profiled at an angle, and the cut-offs are arranged at the base of the bank to make a more gradual slope, preventing further wind erosion.
Recycling Smolt nets are used as a geotextile to prevent further surface erosion and encourage new seed growth beneath it. Dirk Robertson showed volunteers how plugs of peat that have been taken from the eroded areas of peat are replaced with plugs from healthy areas of peatland. The replanted plugs contain cotton grass and sphagnum moss which create peat over time.
James Hedges showed the volunteers a body of water that has been created by making dams to encourage water to pool. This is done to avoid flowing burns eroding the peatland further. It also creates an excellent wildlife habitat and encourages growth of cotton grass which stabilises the peat, allowing sphagnum moss to take hold and from here, peat is formed.
Regular Peatland Restoration open days are held on the site, with opportunity for members of the public to get involved or just come along and see the work that is being done. To register an interest in future events, contact Sue White, Peatland Restoration Officer, at Shetland Amenity Trust on 01595 694688.