BOG moss is being used to revive large areas of North-East landscape in an innovative trial.

The North Pennines Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) Partnership became one of the first conservation organisations in the country to use the process, which involves sphagnum moss being placed alongside water channels on bare peat.

The sphagnum will soak up excess water, hold onto it during the drier months and grow and expand to cover nearby areas of bare peat.

Loading article content

More than 150 bags of the sponge-like mosses were spread across the North Pennines in a bid to restore some of the area’s eroding peatland.

The project, which began last year, will see more than 18 hectares of bare peat become re-vegetated and eventually grow into a piece of fully functioning blanket bog.

The North Pennines has the largest expanse of peatland in England, more than 3,000 hectares of which needs restoring.

Alistair Lockett, from the North Pennines AONB Partnership, who collected and re-distributed the sphagnum, said: “Healthy peatlands are massively important to the environment.

“To some, it seems like a fairly unappealing landscape and I don’t think that many people understand the role it plays in all our lives.

“Healthy peatlands lock up carbon, reduces water colour, reduces flooding and even conserves archaeology.

“We work closely with several organisations and landowners and without their co-operation and input we wouldn’t be able to restore the peatlands of the North Pennines.

“We have a lot to do but we have already made good progress and I am confident that this fairly new approach to peatland restoration will do the job.”

Last month (June), the Yorkshire Peat Partnership announced that 17,000 hectares of peatland had been restored in North Yorkshire, which was halfway to meeting its target of restoring 35,000 hectares by 2017.

The Yorkshire-based partnership, the AONB, the RSPB and Campaign for National Parks have called on the Government to help protect upland peatlands, which they described as "the UK's rainforest".

Although peatlands store twice as much carbon as the planet's forests and are responsible for at least ten per cent of carbon dioxide emissions, it is thought only four per cent of uplands peatlands are considered to be in good ecological condition.