Bog watch after £80,000 work

Two traditional Borders peat bogs are being monitored after the completion of extensive work to restore them.

The 25-hectare Drone Moss near Coldingham and the larger Whim Bog at Lamancha in Peeblesshire are designated sites of special scientific interest (SSSIs).

Both have been the focus of a major project by the Tweed Forum, the multi-interest charitable company which promotes the sustainable management of the River Tweed catchment.

Last year, the forum secured over £81,000 from Scottish Natural Heritage’s Peatland Action Fund to rehabilitate the two lowland raised bogs.

The fund was set up in 2012 to restore traditional peatlands which store 25 times more carbon than all other plant life in the UK.

Healthy peatlands keep carbon locked up and continue to absorb and store more, while degraded bogs emit carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gasses and thus contribute to climate change.

The success of the funding bid acknowledged that Drone Moss and Whim Bog, although important wildlife habitats and 60 miles apart, had become degraded.

“Both sites faced issues of colonising shrubs and trees and active old drainage channels which combined to leave the sites less boggy than they should have been,” states the just-published annual report of the Tweed Forum trustees which explains how the funding was used.

Around 100 man hours of work were involved and, between the sites, around five miles of ditches were dammed and 37 hectares containing scrub and tree growth were cut and felled with the stumps treated.

The report states: “At Drone, this also meant hand-cutting many hundreds of encroaching rhododendron seedlings which were threatening to take over the northern end of the bog.

“Monitors have been put in place at both sites to record rainfall and water levels and data will be collected so we can ensure the effectiveness of the restoration work.”