Restoring peatland on Skye

Thanks to funding from NatureScot’s Peatland Action programme, work is now underway to restore 36.5 hectares of peat bog at Strathaird

Peatland restoration before detail

The first phase of work at Faoilean on our Strathaird Estate involves the felling and extracting of 17 hectares of Sitka spruce. As the site is cleared the focus will shift to reprofiling ditch and furrow irrigation channels; creating peat dams and blocking drains to increase water levels; and smoothing the ground by ‘stump flipping’ the felled spruce.

Rich Williams, the Trust’s Land Operations Manager (North), is delighted that the work is now underway after many years of planning.

He said: “The site was partially felled about 10 years ago, but this funding means we can now remove all non-native Sitka spruce from the site. This will ensure that the carbon already stored up in the site is secured, while also enabling the bog restoration and carbon sequestration processes to get underway, resulting in important gains for both biodiversity and carbon storage.

“Part of the work will involve the removal of Sitka spruce seedlings across the site and, in the future, we hope that Trust volunteers will help us remove any spruce seedlings that germinate on the site.

“At the end of the project interpretation panels will be installed to explain the processes undertaken and our hopes for the increased biodiversity, richness of habitat and carbon storage of the land.”

There will be some localised disruption while work is in progress, expected to last until late March 2021.

Example of peatland restoration - after

Photographs show a site at South Dee in Dumfries and Galloway. Top picture (pre restoration) was taken May 2018 and above picture (post restoration) in October 2019. Thanks to NatureScot and photographer Emily Taylor / Crichton Carbon Centre

NatureScot Peatland Action logo

  • Huge thanks to NatureScot’s Peatland Action Fund for making this work possible, to Scottish Forestry for facilitating changes to the Strathaird Estate’s Long-Term Forest Plan and to Lucy Ballantyne, our Peatland Action Officer who has been involved from the very early stages of this project.