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25 Nov 2022

How 10,000 plugs and an army of volunteers are helping to restore peatland at Astley Moss

This month over 30 volunteers teamed up to plant a range of native plug plants, with the aim of restoring the natural peatland and increasing biodiversity across the Astley Moss East site in Wigan. 

Volunteers came from a range of organisations including Peel L&P, Liverpool John Moores University Conservation Society, ATKINS and The Conservation Volunteers. The event was facilitated by The Lancashire Wildlife Trust.

Over 10,000 plugs were planted in one day, including 7,000 Sphagnum in addition to Bilberry, Erica and Crowberry, all helping to repair the local peatland. In natural conditions peatlands store carbon, have a net cooling effect on climate, reduce flood risk, and support local biodiversity.

Historically, peat was extracted from the site for horticultural use, but this ceased in 2015 when the planning consent expired and Peel L&P chose not to renew. The area is now in a 20-year aftercare programme under Peel L&P’s custodianship.

After seven years of restoration work, mosses and other flora are once again reclaiming the site. It is hoped that this latest planting will help encourage the new growth of bog-forming species. 

Jo Holden, Sustainability and ESG Director at Peel L&P commented: “It is great to see collaboration across so many organisations to help restore the local peatland at Astley Moss East. This work will not only support local biodiversity, but as peatlands are among the most carbon-rich ecosystems on Earth, their restoration and maintenance is critical.”

Sarah Johnson, Peatlands Programme Project Manager at Lancashire Wildlife Trust, said: “Our peatlands are vital natural resources in the fight against both climate change and biodiversity loss. Every remaining fragment of peatland is precious and so we are delighted to be supporting the restoration of Astley Moss East.”

More information about Peel L&P's Sustainability work here.