Finally recognised for its environmental benefits, the UK’s ‘Cinderella habitat’ is at the heart of a major conservation drive
Up in the blustery hills of the Yorkshire Dales on an August afternoon, conservationist Jenny Sharman points out a cottongrass plant, resembling white fluff on a stalk, in a patch of dark, almost black, peat.
“We didn’t plant that one,” she says. “It’s surprising how quickly nature responds. You just have to give it a chance to return. It’s really lovely to see.” Sharman, a peatland restoration officer with the Yorkshire Peat Partnership, led by the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust, is working against the clock to save the north of England’s rapidly declining bogs. It may sound like the least sexy conservation scheme on earth but bog restoration is in vogue thanks to our increasing understanding of its huge environmental benefits, including large-scale carbon capture and desperately needed flood prevention.