RESTORATION and habitat could be carried out at a raised bog ecosystem near Kirkbride if the plans are approved by Cumberland Council.

Cumbria Wildlife Trust has submitted a planning application to the local authority for the project at Solway And Duddon Mosses, Anthorn to Whitrigg.

The work would create a network of cell bunding to retain water and 'rewet the surface', blocking drainage ditches and clearing scrub that dries the peat.

According to the planning application, the site covers a total area of 171 hectares across Bowness Common, surrounding the Rogersceugh , which it says is currently in poor condition due to historic land management practices.

The site is currently owned by Natural England and the RSPB and as such is managed to maximise the benefits to nature.

The application states: "These restoration works form part of broader restoration objectives of Cumbria Wildlife Trust as well as the land owners; Natural England and RSPB.

"The work seeks to restore the raised bog ecosystem by increasing the water level within the peat, through a variety of methods.

News and Star: Overview of the siteOverview of the site (Image: Cumbria Wildlife Trust)

"This area overlies deep peat deposits and the works seek to reduce the water loss from the bog. This will be done through creation of a network of cell bunding to retain water and re-wet the surface, blocking drainage ditches and clearing scrub that dries the peat."

A separate planning statement adds that the site proposed for restoration is an SSSI and the work would involve improving the condition of bog edge through tree and shrub clearance.

The restoration objectives include:

  • To install deep trench cell bunding across approximately 16ha of Rogersceugh, part of Bowness Common SSSI;
  • Install 52 peat and dams to block a large and active drainage ditch;
  • Remove approximately 11ha of low density natural regrowth of trees/shrubs;
  • Remove and dispose of approximately 1200m of fencing to allow for construction of above restoration features;
  • Install 1200m stock proof fencing to protect restoration work.

The report states: "All peatland restoration designs are based around the principle of restoring the hydrology of the underlying peat, from before interventions by humans to dry out peatland, or cutting for fuel and horticulture.

News and Star: Location map of the siteLocation map of the site (Image: Cumbria Wildlife Trust)

"As such the goal is prevent or reduce the water loss from the peat through blocking the water loss from the peat caused by drainage, cutting or drying peat.

"The blocking of drains and deep trench cell bunding is an effective method for doing this. The clearance of naturally regenerating scrub on, and as a result of, drying peat further contributes to reducing water loss from the peat."