Dorset's mires get funding boost
A new conservation partnership has secured nearly £150,000 from Natural England’s Nature for Climate Peatland Discovery Grant scheme to develop plans to restore the county’s vitally important mire habitats. The successful bid was co-ordinated by Dorset Catchment Partnerships on behalf of partners Dorset Wildlife Trust, Forestry England, RSPB and Natural England’s Dorset team and the Environment Agency who will work together as the Dorset Peat Partnership.
Where are the heaths and mires in Dorset?
The Dorset heaths are split between three main river catchments the Stour, Piddle and Frome as shown on the map below.
Why do we need to restore the heaths and mires?
Dorset is home to over 150 wet heaths and mires, but many are fragmented and in poor condition following hundreds of years of land use change, development, and recreational pressure. A key contributor to this degradation has been caused by drainage which has disrupted the natural hydrological system of our wetland habitats making them much drier and less capable of forming peat.
What’s so important about Dorset's heaths and mires?
The Dorset heaths and mires are internationally recognised for their ecological significance which include Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI’s) and the Purbeck Heaths now have National Nature Reserve (NNR) status. These landscapes are homes to migratory birds, rare damselflies, amphibians and reptiles, special plants and insects who rely on the condition of these wet mire heath habitats to survive.
How will the discovery grant help?
The discovery grant will make us assess the peat condition of the Dorset heaths and mires, carry out ecological baseline surveys of the vegetation, look for potential solutions to lock up water, calculate areas where we could potentially reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and make carbon benefits by slowing down the decomposition of plants in wetter conditions. Gather data about the historic environment, build a data and evidence monitoring plan and work alongside key stakeholders to develop a bid for a restoration grant bid by March 2023.
How can I get involved in the project?
- Spread the word about peat and the benefits it has for carbon, water, wildlife, and communities - whether you are out on the heaths, in a classroom, or posting on social media.
- Volunteer yourself or encourage your networks to collect data about water and plants at potential peat restoration sites in Dorset.
If you would like more information, please contact the Dorset Peat Partnership by emailing Grace Herve firstname.lastname@example.org