Peatland restoration in East Ayrshire

Bogs are unique rain-fed, wetland habitats that contain peat soils. They provide essential ecosystem services such as carbon storage and natural flood management, and are important areas for wildlife including hen harrier, curlew, sundew, adder, large heath butterfly, and many species of plant including peat-building Sphagnum mosses. Around 18% of the land cover of East Ayrshire is made up of bogs and other peatlands with much of this internationally recognised, Many of the bogs in East Ayrshire have been damaged through past land-use.The East Ayrshire Coalfield Environment Initiative (CEI) and partners have been working to improve bog habitats in the Coalfields since 2013 as part of the East Ayrshire Coalfields Nature Network,  EcoCo LIFE, and Nature Network Legacy projects.

The CEI have delivered 609 hectares of bog restoration work across seven sites since 2013, utilising funding from the SEPA Water Environment Fund, the Heritage Lottery Fund, Cumnock and Doon Valley Minerals Trust, Peatland Action Fund, INFINIS, LIFE+ financial instrument of the European Community (LIFE13 BIO/UK/000428 EcoCo LIFE), South Ayrshire Waste Environment Trust (SAWET), the Scottish Government and European Union-Ayrshire LEADER 2014-2020 Programme. Through our Perfect Peatlands project (launching in summer 2020) the CEI will continue to restore sites, raise awareness of peatlands and advise land managers.

The work that CEI does to restore peatlands contributes to the Scottish Governments targets to restore 250,000 hectares of peatland by 2032. Explore our projects via the IUCN Peatland Programme’s project map.

The project has commissioned a number of habitat surveys with the aims of prioritising sites for restoration, gathering baseline habitat data and informing restoration and management plans.  Peatland habitat work has been carried out by highly skilled contractors who have used a range of techniques, including constructing peat and plastic piling dams, creating trench bunds, tree felling and scrub clearance.

The CEI have used their expertise and taken advice from others experienced in bog restoration to use the best available methods to ensure the best possible results. We hope that the improvements at our sites will benefit bog wildlife, and will be carrying out surveys with volunteers to monitor the success of the restoration work and to collect biological and habitat data.

The Nature Network / EcoCo LIFE project (2013-2018) is summarised in this PDF Celebrating the Nature Network

To read more about the CEI’s restoration sites, click on the links below:

Airds Moss RSPB Reserve

Dalmellington Moss SSSI SWT Reserve

Tappethill Moss

Shiel Farm (Airds Moss West)

Low Moss

Common Farm

Weitshaw Muir, Sorn Estate

Peatland restoration sites in East Ayrshire Coalfields – June 2018