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Funding aids vital restoration work to Cheviot summit

College Burn running into Henhole in the Cheviot Hills. Picture by Brian Rogers
College Burn running into Henhole in the Cheviot Hills. Picture by Brian Rogers

Restoration work on the summit of Cheviot will be carried out, thanks to a new injection of Government cash.

Defra has allocated a total of £10million between four peat restoration projects in England, including more than £7.4million to two projects in the north to fund peatland conservation from the Peak District to the Scottish border.

The vast project area spans almost 4,200 hectares, the same size as more than 6,700 football pitches.

Northumberland National Park Authority is one of the partner organisations involved and will carry out restoration work on Cheviot summit in the north of the National Park with the funding.

Gill Thompson, ecologist at Northumberland National Park, said: “We are really pleased to receive funding for work in Northumberland National Park and on such an iconic place as the Cheviot summit. It will enable us to restore areas of bare peat and re-profile peat hags which will encourage native plants to grow again.”

The North of England peat partnership, led by the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust, will restore 394 hectares of lowland raised bog and 1,679 hectares of blanket bog across 21 peatland sites.

Peatlands have been badly degraded by decades of industrial pollution and wildfires. Acid rain and wildfire have killed off bog-mosses, leaving the peat beneath bare and exposed and allowing carbon to be released into the atmosphere.

The work will ensure that more than 14,700 tonnes of carbon per year is locked down into the blanket bog moors, the same amount of carbon as an average car driving non-stop for more than 65 years.

Dr Tim Thom, peat programme manager at Yorkshire Wildlife Trust, said: “It’s fantastic to see peatlands on the Government’s agenda and getting the recognition they deserve – both in terms of the benefits they bring and the parlous condition we have let so many of them reach.

“This funding will enable us to restore some of the most important and beautiful sites across the north– from England’s largest lowland raised bog in South Yorkshire all the way up to Northumberland’s highest point near the Scottish border.”