Twenty-five youngsters from across northern England spent a muddy Sunday helping to restore moorland and learning about grouse management in the Forest of Bowland, Lancashire.
Organised by the British Association for Shooting and Conservation, and landowner United Utilities (UU), the young volunteers worked on a project to tackle peat erosion, harvesting sphagnum moss from donor sites on the moor and then replanting it in areas at risk of erosion.
The project was led by the Bowland biodiversity officer for United Utilities, Peter Wilson, who explained that the new growth will bind the surface together, improve the habitat for the vast range of wildlife present on the Moor, and improve water quality.
Jason Holden, the BASC North West young shot’s co-ordinator, arranged for over 25 youngsters, some from as far afield as Cheshire and Durham, to lend a hand after special permission for the work had been obtained from Natural England
Peter Pedder, shooting tenant on the moor, lent an Argocat and quad to assist with the logistics and was there with his gamekeeper to help with the work.
BASC’s officer for the North West, Duncan Thomas, said, “This is yet another quality example of our young shot’s ambassadors having a very positive impact on a conservation project.
“The youngsters have really enjoyed themselves, learnt loads about grouse and the amazing range of wildlife that these moors support. They have also had a very informative day learning exactly where their drinking water comes from and that it doesn’t just pour out of a tap!”
Peter Wilson said; “Sphagnum mosses are key to the proper functioning of blanket bog, and this project is very much an attempt to speed up the on-going recovery process we have on this piece of moor. We achieved much more than I anticipated! And I’m very grateful to the BASC volunteers for helping us.”