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Exmoor bogs reduce rain run-off by a third

Exmoor bogs  


Creating mires and bogs on moorland can reduce storm run-off into Somerset’s rivers by as much as one third say experts.

A £2.2 million project (funded by water bills) has blocked more than 60 miles of old agricultural ditches on Exmoor using straw bales and wooden dams.

The Exmoor Mires Project began in 2010 with the aim of restoring peat moorland into bog. The wet land holds water in times of heavy rainfall and slows the drainage into local rivers during times of flood.

"Exmoor was covered in trees but in 7,000 BC hunter-gatherers cut down the forests and it ended up as peat bogs," said Lee Bray, the Exmoor Mires historic environment officer. "Then there was a great drive for agricultural improvement and a network of ditches was dug to drain a lot of the peat land."

The project has restored 4,942 acres of Exmoor to bog conditions by plugging the old agricultural ditches.


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