Success for the South West Moors!

Our ambitious three-year project to restore peatland on the South West’s iconic moors, Bodmin Moor, Exmoor and Dartmoor has been awarded £2million!

A partnership of organisations including The Cornwall AONB Unit, West Country Rivers Trust, Natural England, South West Water,  South West Lakes Trust and the Environment Agency have led on the project and have joined forces with the Dartmoor and Exmoor National Park Authorities and many others for the benefit of all the South West Moors. The Partnership has successfully apply for funding from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) to restore 1,680 hectares of damaged peatland on Bodmin Moor, Dartmoor and Exmoor.

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Morag Angus from SWW explained:

“The peatlands of south-west England are very important for water quality, carbon storage, biodiversity, cultural history, recreation and farming but they are the most vulnerable in the UK to the impacts of climate change, due to their southerly position. For this reason they need to be prioritised nationally and restored for the benefit of all and future generations.The £2million from Defra presents a real opportunity to make a significant difference and to deliver sustainable management in these upland river catchments.

Colette Beckham, Cornwall AONB Partnership Manager added,

"We are really delighted to be able to make significant strides to restoring valley mire peatlands on Bodmin Moor  through this project and I think the moor has really benefitted here from the joint approach with Dartmoor and Exmoor. It has to be said that this would not be possible without our committed group of supportive landowners - so special thanks must go to them."

The moors of Bodmin, Dartmoor and Exmoor hold significant regional and national deposits of peat in the form of blanket bogs and valley mires. These wetland habitats are complex ecosystems that support diverse and unique ecology of national and international importance.

Over centuries, human interventions have and still are impacting upon the overall quality and distribution of wetland mire habitats and upland moors. The demise of such wetlands across extensive swathes of the moors has resulted in changes in the moorland ecology, including the loss of iconic species such as dunlin, golden plover, and Sphagnum mosses.

The challenge is to prevent further losses and halt the decline, while improving and restoring these degraded habitats.

The project will be delivered by a partnership including government agencies, non-governmental organisations, landowners and farmers. Restoration work will start in August 2018.


Various ditch blocking techniques using sustainable materials (wood, peat, grass and heather) will be adopted on historic peat cuttings, drainage networks and eroding gullies in order to enable re-wetting of extensive areas of damaged peatlands.

Undertaking this peatland restoration will bring about multiple benefits. These include:

  • Increasing the peatlands’ resilience to climate change and increasing carbon storage.

  • Improving the hydrological function of the peatlands by improving the quality and quantity of water leaving the moors.

  • Restoring the ecosystems that support the recovery of the habitats and associated wildlife.

  • Protecting and increasing our knowledge of our historic environment.

  • Maintaining and improving access.

  • Economic benefits to local farmers and businesses.

  • Health and well-being benefits to society both locally and nationally.

  • A greater understanding and experience to the numerous people who work in and visit these iconic landscapes.


Notes to editors


The Three Moors project partners are:

  • Bodmin Moor: Our landowners, South West Water, South West Lakes Trust, Natural England, Environment Agency, RSPB, Cornwall AONB, West Country Rivers Trust, Country Land and Business Association and Cornwall Council

  • Dartmoor: South West Water, Natural England, Environment Agency, RSPB, Dartmoor National Park Authority, West Country Rivers Trust, Devon Wildlife Trust, Dartmoor Preservation Trust, Dartmoor Society, Duchy of Cornwall, Ministry of Defence, farming representatives, Historic England, University of Exeter, University of Plymouth

  • Exmoor: South West Water, Natural England, Environment Agency, Historic England, University of Exeter, Exmoor National Park Authority, Exmoor Society, farming representatives.