Peatland enhancement work at Tappethill Moss – 1st phase completed

The East Ayrshire Coalfield Environment Initiative (CEI) have been working with partners Forestry Commission Scotland (FSC) to improve Tappethill Moss, a peat bog in East Ayrshire.

Tappethill Moss was planted with commercial forestry in 1981 and is situated in a large area of peatland habitat that has been used to grow timber and has also been subject to open cast coal mining. Tappethill Moss is special as it contains a very deep deposit of peat, over 6 metres deep in places. Peat is made up of partially decomposed plant matter and forms incredibly slowly, as little as 1 millimeter per year. This means the peat deposits at Tappethill are many thousands of years old.

As well as being covered in deep peat, the site is also very wet due to the bog’s ability to soak up rainwater. This has meant that the Sitka spruce that were planted have not grown big as the neighbouring plantations. However, the trees had been removing water from the bog which had started to dry out and erode, so it was decided that the trees should be felled in order to prevent any further damage to the bog.

Bog rosemary

The best areas of bog habitat at Tappethill Moss are now clear of trees, opening up an area of bog habitat the size of 50 football pitches. Bogs are important habitats for many plant and animal species such as Hen harrier, Curlew, Sundew, Adder, Large heath butterfly, and many species of peat-building Sphagnum mosses. The CEI hope that the improvements at Tappethill will benefit bog-loving species, and will be carrying out wildlife surveys with volunteers as part of the EcoCo LIFE+ Project. The CEI and FCS are exploring options for further work on the site such as damming ditches to raise the water table.

The peatland enhancement work at Tappethill Moss is supported byForestry Commission Scotland, Cumnock and Doon Valley Minerals Trust, the Heritage Lottery Fund and with the contribution of the LIFE+ financial instrument of the European CommunityLIFE13 BIO/UK/000428 EcoCoLIFE.

If you would like to find out more about our volunteering programme, please call Jennifer Dunn on 01563 576771 or email