Peatland Restoration

The Wicklow Mountains National Park is Ireland’s largest national park with a size of 20,043 hectares. Upland blanket bog and heath cover the upland slopes and rounded peaks with native woodland and fast-flowing streams in the valleys. The park is managed by rangers of the National Parks and Wildlife Service.

There are an estimated 343 hectares of extremely de-vegetated peatland in the Wicklow Mountains. Without vegetation the bare peat simply blows or washes away, causing downstream pollution or carbon loss. 

In summer 2022, ReWild Wicklow volunteers joined forces with NPWS rangers to start a peatland restoration trial project on a relatively small area of degraded peatland on the Barnacullian Ridge in the Wicklow Mountains. The project sought to apply methods of restoration used successfully on degraded peatland in trials conducted in the United Kingdom. Over the course of several volunteer days our group helped the rangers spread heather mulch, grass seed and fertiliser, build over 100 small timber dams and erect sheep fencing around the project site. This trial proved very successful with considerable areas revegetating and the dams successfully slowing the runoff of water, creating pools and stopping the runoff of peat.


The project site for this trial was just 4 hectares but there are an estimated 343 hectares of extremely de-vegetated peatland in the Wicklow Mountains. We were very energised by the success of this trial and in 2023 we are partnering with the NPWS rangers to expand these techniques of restoration to areas greater in size and help provide funding and the crucial manual labour. This project is being supported with funding from the Heritage Council through their Community Heritage Grants Scheme 2023 and the Local Authority Waters Programme through their Community Water Development Fund.

This project will have multiple benefits to water quality, climate change mitigation and biodiversity. The peatland restoration will reduce the runoff of peat into the rivers at their source, thereby improving the quality of the water. Restored peatlands are also one of the most effective carbon sinks, helping us meet our international carbon emission reduction targets. And finally the project site we are working on is an SAC and when restored will help crucial species such as the threatened Irish hare, red grouse, merlin and multiple other species of birds.

Find out more about the Wicklow Mountains National Park here.


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