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 Peatland Programme

Our Peatland Programme, formerly known as Peatscapes, aims to conserve and enhance the internationally important peatland resource within the North Pennines and to promote peatland conservation at local, national and international levels. 

Read more about our peatland work on this page and from the links below. 

What is peat and why is it important?

Peat soils form when conditions do not allow plants to decompose completely. There are around 900 square kilometres of peatland in the North Pennines and most of this is blanket bog, a unique type of peat habitat, found only in cool, wet regions of the world. 27% of England's blanket bog can be found in the North Pennines. These peatlands are important because they:

  1. Are an internationally designated habitat for wildlife
  2. Play an important role in maintaining drinking water quality
  3. Have a role in flood control at some scales
  4. Are a significant store of carbon, with implications for climate change
  5. Contain a record of the historic environment since the last ice age
  6. Support local employment through farming, shooting, tourism and conservation jobs.


Our project objectives are:

  • Restoration - Supporting restoration and management work through the promotion of existing agri-environment and wildlife enhancement grants and through sourcing new additional funds.

  • Research - Supporting and disseminating new and existing research into peatland processes, ecology and management.

  • Promoting best practice - Supporting the provision of management advice on upland peatland to form the basis of practical management works.

  • Celebration - Raising the level of understanding and appreciation of the significance of the resource to those living in, working in and visiting the area.


View the video below for an overview of the project:


The BBC's Trai Anfield visited the North Pennines to discover the importance of peatlands and the challenges that they face, click below to view a clip from the Wild Weather programme: 


Our partners

Much of the work that we do is in partnership with others, those that own and manage the land, contractors that carry out the restoration work, our scientific research partners, government agencies and others from the local community. We are grateful to our current funding partners, the Environment Agency, Natural England and Northumbrian Water.


Further information 

For further information about our Peatland Programme please contact:  

Paul Leadbitter - Programme Manager

Emma Taylor - Field Officer

Alistair Lockett - Field Officer

A group of volunteers measuring peat depth during our 'How Deep is Your Peat?' event
Sundews are carnivorous plants found on blanket bogs
Blocking grips (drainage channels) on the moorlands
Surveying an area of eroding peat using a laser scanner