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 spring 2022, NPWS rangers began a project to restore the peatlands in the Wicklow Mountains. 40 tonnes of heather brash, fencing materials and timber to build wooden dams were flown out to remote sites. Our volunteers have helped with spreading this heather brash and grass seed over large areas, building small 'leaky' timber dams and assembling a protective sheep fence to stop trampling and grazing. Over time it is hoped this will help re-vegetate the bare peat with native grasses and heather. 

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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