This February saw peatland conservation work on Steng Moss, opposite Winter’s Gibbet, just outside of Elsdon. This bog is a really special place, with at least 7 different species of sphagnum as well as cotton grass, bog rosemary, cranberry and bog asphodel. This is site perfect for large heath butterfly and we are hoping this summer to go and look for signs of larvae or butterfly.
Bogs often form at the watershed of two river catchments, where water moves very slowly and Steng Moss is no exception. Part of it flows into the River Rede and part towards Fontburn Reservoir and into the River Wansbeck. Peat that dries out and blows away is actually giving off carbon, whereas healthy sphagnum can lock it up helping to tackle climate change.
In February 2015 we organised Sitka sapling removal at Steng Moss using a mixture of volunteers for the small saplings, and contractors with chain saws for the larger ones. Trees affect a bog by slowly drying it out, whereas sphagnum likes to be wet most of the year, in order to keep forming peat and storing carbon.