Blanket & Lowland Raised Bogs
As well as being an internationally important habitat for wildlife blanklet and lowland raised bogs that are in good condition improve water quality, reduce flood risk, capture and store carbon and are great places for walking and enjoying the outdoors.
The most abundant type of blanket bog in the Dales is dominated by hare’s-tail cottongrass and can be recognised by the white cotton like seed heads. This is the most species poor blanket bog type and is often a transition stage to acidic grassland. This type of blanket bog covers vast areas of moorland in the National Park. Blanket bog that is a mixture of heather and cottongrass is more species rich with bilberry or crowberry abundant in places. At higher altitudes cowberry and cloudberry are also present. The best areas occur around Swaledale. The most species-rich and rarest blanket bogs are the bog-moss rich ones. This habitat is important for specialised bog plants such as cranberry, bog asphodel and round-leaved sundew. Most examples of this habitat have been degraded due to inappropriate burning, moorland drainage and atmospheric pollution that has reduced the moss cover. Some of the richest examples are found in Chapel-le-Dale and Ribblesdale. The driest type of blanket bog habitat is that associated with peat hags where drying of the peat has lead to the growth of dwarf shrubs and lichens. The most extensive areas are found on Bolton and Carperby Moors between Wensleydale and Swaledale.
Lowland raised bogs are very rare in the Dales and their vegetation is very similar to the bog-moss-rich blanket bogs.
The very ambitious and successful Yorkshire Peat Project is achieving landscape-scale restoration of these habitats throughout the Yorkshire Dales National Park. See more information in our project pages.
Blanket and raised bogs are of high biodiversity value and are under threat. Consequently, blanket bog and lowland raised bogs continue to be on the UK list of priority habitats for biodiversity action.