The Restoration Sites
The National Trust for Scotland (NTS) own 2,283 ha of Arran’s Northern mountain range, which includes a wide diversity of habitats, including blanket bog. Much of this area is encompassed within the Arran Northern Mountains SSSI and Arran Moors SPA.
This area is not currently grazed by sheep or cattle but does have a significant red deer population The area is also one of Scotland’s most popular hill-walking destinations.
Bog habitats on the Goatfell property have been degraded and lost due to past drainage works. NTS recognise that the loss of bog habitats is a national issue and some management has already been started to restore the area of bog habitats present. An experimental project has been running on one site (Maol Donn) and the effectiveness of the restoration work has been monitored to determine the impact on the water levels and species present.
The experimental work has been carried out only on the minor ditches as the larger ditches (mostly on steep gradients), are much more difficult to dam. As a result the larger ditches continue to gully and if left unaltered in the long term, may negate the work done on the smaller ditches.
Two areas of upland blanket bog, Maol Donn and Coire a Bhradhain, have been identified as sites for restoration work. Contributing to this project will enable us to dam more of the ditches including some of the larger ditches.
This in turn will create the conditions required for sphagnum and other specialist bog plants, such as the oblong leaved sundew above, to recolonise the area. Blanket bogs are known to be a sink for carbon so contributing to this project will help offset your carbon footprint.
August 2007 has seen the start of the restoration work. Volunteer conservation parties spent a time and effort damming and blocking drains at the site. This has immediately stopped the water loss and so stopped carbon leaching from the dammed areas. In turn, the water retention will allow the natural ecology of the peat mosses to re-establish. Remember, this can be a hands on project, don’t just consider contributing financially, you can get involved practically and see the benefits.