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Page last updated at 11:57 GMT, Wednesday, 20 January 2010
Dartmoor and Exmoor get millions to protect their bogs
By Jo Irving
BBC Devon

Eroding blanket bog on Dartmoor
The cash will help tackle eroding blanket bog on Dartmoor

The chance to spend more than £4m on some of Devon's muddy ground does not happen too often.

Which is why Dartmoor and Exmoor have jumped at the opportunity to save their bog land.

The money will be spent on enhancing and conserving wildlife habitats as well as looking after the soil.

Andy Guy from Natural England said: "Restoring bog vegetation will protect the peat that lies in layers beneath the surface."

Bog vegetation

The £4.1m will be shared by Devon's two national parks during the next five years.

Funded by South West Water, the project will begin in April 2010.

On Dartmoor, it will be called the Dartmoor Mires Project and will be managed by the Dartmoor National Park Authority (DNPA) with the support of the Environment Agency, Duchy of Cornwall and Natural England.

Exmoor National Park
Exmoor has already benefited from some restoration

Dartmoor commoners will carry out most of the work because they are recognised for their unique skills and knowledge of the blanket bog, as well as the Ministry of Defence and other organisations.

Dartmoor National Park director, Suzanne Goodfellow, said: "Exmoor has already benefited from the restoration of 326 hectares of moorland to date.

"On Dartmoor, this funding will allow us to restore areas of high quality blanket bog so that they can provide a priority habitat with unique plants and birds as well as a water resource and carbon store."

Both moors are considered to be globally important and the money will go towards "stitching" each one back together.

It will be spent on restoration work like blocking ditches and erosion gullies in order to create shallow pools, which promote the regeneration of moorland bog vegetation.

The work will also mean salmon and other species like dunlin will benefit from the improved water quality.

The Mires on the Moors Project will run from April 2010 until March 2015.

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