Restoring Exmoor’s Peatlands

Business, Public Sector • North Devon, Somerset West and Taunton

The Exmoor Mires Partnership is restoring peatlands to capture carbon, support nature recovery, and improve water quality.

  • Planting of willow bundles to slow flows and create a wet scrub habitat.

Exmoor Mires Partnership's Story

The Exmoor Mires Partnership is working with landowners and moorland users to re-assess the way bogs are regarded and managed. With the support of this partnership, over 2,500ha of peatland has been restored, with hundreds of kilometres of old ditches and abandoned peat cuttings being blocked up, gradually restoring their ecological and hydrological functions. The end result will be wetter, healthier peatlands, which supply a wide range of ecosystem services

Peatland restoration has been underway on Exmoor for over 20 years to reverse the damage caused by historic drainage and reclamation. Since 1998, a total of over 2,600 hectares has been restored. The work has been led by the Exmoor Mires Partnership, on land owned by Exmoor National Park Authority, and several private landowners.

One of the areas recently restored is 40 hectares on South Regis common. Peat cuttings and ditches were blocked and bunds created to capture water, protect the peatland edge and restore a more natural hydro-ecological system. Willow bundles were planted in gullies and water flow pathways to slow flows, capture sediments and create a wet scrub/woodland habitat. Over time, this peatland restoration will support nature recovery, improve water quality through reducing sediments entering the rivers, reduce flood risk, and help to capture carbon.

Useful Learnings from the Exmoor Mires Partnership

Partnership working is key to delivery and holistic approach. The Exmoor Mires Partnership now includes representatives from all of the groups concerned with managing moorlands.

The governance and decision making of the Exmoor Mires Partnership is now firmly in the hands of the moorland stakeholders and this has resulted in significant changes on the ground. Don't work in isolation, ie think about ecology, farming, archaeology, and the economy all together.

Exmoor Mires Partnership's Metrics

Monitoring the consequences of contemporary restoration of damaged mire landscapes in a holistic manner – water quality, supply, flood risk change, carbon storage and greenhouse gas fluxes, agricultural economic impacts, historic environment and biodiversity changes.

Feeling inspired? Discover more about this story...

Positive Impacts

Thriving Wildlife

Response to climate crisis

Mitigation & Adaptation




Business, Public Sector, 50 to 249 people

Shared by

South West Net Zero Hub

Updated Nov, 2023

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