Volunteers helping to repair Marsden Moor fire damage

The work will help repair some of the damage caused by recent fires

A series of community moss planting days have been announced by the National Trust on Marsden Moor. The volunteer events, which will take place this autumn, will help repair some of the damage caused by recent fires, as well as trapping carbon and soaking up heavy rainfall.

Moorland fire at Marsden Moor in April 2021

The work will see thousands of sphagnum moss plugs planted between now and the spring. The moss, which is a peat forming plant, also helps re wet the moorland, reducing flood risk and fire risk and increasing the moor’s resilience to climate change.

In April this year, a major fire destroyed two square miles of moorland. It took fire crews three days to extinguish the fire and the National Trust called in a specialist helicopter team to assist. It’s estimated that repairing the damage will cost around £200,000. Rangers found burnt nests and eggs from ground nesting birds among the fire damage.

Image showing some of the moorland fire damage. Credit: National Trust

Members of the public, the local community and National Trust members donated thousands of pounds to the Marsden Moor Fire Appeal Fund, some of which will be used to pay for the moss plants.

Countryside Manager for the National Trust, Craig Best, said, “This is a really exciting opportunity for people from the local community to play a part in Marsden Moor’s recovery. We’ve got nearly 50,000 moss plugs to get in the ground this winter, so it’ll be great to have helping hands.”

“Sphagnum moss is an incredible plant. It’s like a giant sponge for the moors. It can hold ten times its own weight in water, meaning during periods of heavy rainfall, this water is released really slowly. This helps to slow the flow of water run-off, reducing flood risk. It re-wets the moorland, which reduces fire risk. It also traps carbon, and forms peat.”

“Every tiny bit of moss that volunteers put in the ground will be contributing to our fight against climate change and help us prevent future fires.”

Rangers plant sphagnum moss on Marsden Moor. Credit: National Trust/Victoria Holland

The community planting days will take place on Saturday 4th September, Sunday 5th September, Monday 6th September and Saturday 11th September. The National Trust rangers hope to organise more planting days for October.

To sign up and to find out more details, please e-mail marsdenmoor@nationaltrust.org.uk. For more details about the work of the National Trust, visit: https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/marsden-moor-estate/

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