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Calling green fingered growers

This is an archived press release

Thursday 2 September 2004

2 September 2004

Calling green fingered growers

Issued by the Moors for the Future Partnership

Looking after the lawn in the summer months is a challenge for gardeners but imagine tending four square kilometres…you'd want an army of helpers! The Moors for the Future partnership is looking for local horticultural and gardening clubs who would like to get involved in a trial to grow cotton-grass from seed that was collected this summer.

The plants, so named because of their cotton-like flowering heads actually belong to the sedge family. They will be used for re-vegetating bog drains on the Peak District moors of Bleaklow. The plants roots will help knit the soil together and prevent further erosion to this fragile area.

Bleaklow is home to some of the world's most important heather moorland and blanket bog but, over the years, parts of this dramatic upland area have been severely damaged by fire. Now, the Moors for the Future project has started the long process of restoring the ground flora.

Moor Care Ranger, Dan Boys, explained, "The first phase of the work is concentrating on the most damaged moorland. Last year we used a helicopter to spread lime and fertilizer over the burnt areas to prepare them for re-vegetation and encourage plant growth. Earlier this year we spread fast growing grass seed mix along with heather seeds over the site. The grass is already establishing well, helping to prevent erosion by the wind and rain and giving the heather a chance to establish itself."

It is important to stress, however, that this is a long-term project. It may take many years for this fragile moorland landscape, which is owned by United Utilities and private landowners, to fully recover. Dan said, "After the initial backbreaking work done on a massive scale we are now looking for ways in which local people can get involved. We are calling on local gardening clubs or allotment societies with the space and expertise to try their hand at growing cotton-grass. As this trial is based initially at Bleaklow, we would especially welcome groups in and around the Glossop and Holmfirth areas."

The Green Health Partnership, a collaboration of BTCV (a national conservation charity) and Rethink (a national mental health charity) have already signed up to the project and John Blithe, Project Officer said "This is a great opportunity to promote conservation, and involve people recovering from mental health problems in this valuable project."

If the trial proves successful, it is hoped that we will look to extend this project to other sites and species of moorland plants in the future.

For more information about how to get involved contact the Moor Care Ranger, Dan Boys, by email on daniel.boys@peakdistrict.gov.uk or phone 01433 621656.

This is an archived press release

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