Moorland re wetting at Westonby
Retaining water in the higher ground is a recognised method of reducing flash flooding to properties lower down the slopes. Mulgrave Estate are putting this theory to the test at Westonby moor, near Lealholm. Under the heather on Westonby moor lies a network of shallow drains and channels that allow water to escape and flow down to Stonegate Beck below Shortwaite and into the River Esk shortly afterwards. Our Countryside Stewardship agreement promotes blocking of the drains (grip blocking) on the moor leading to quality wet moor / heath habitat resulting in biodiversity gain. The wet heathland is home to a number of mosses, mire and bog species that are valuable to the ecological matrix of the moorland here. Wet bog and heath also stores carbon which is lost from the soil when it reverts to drier conditions or is drained. By soaking the moor all year round, any carbon is stored in the soils and contributes in its’ own way to the reduction of CO2 in the atmosphere.
Our contractors have been busy blocking the drains recently and as a result have created pools and prevented the moor emptying of water. By using a light machine on rubber tracks to do the work any damage to the moorland has been kept to the absolute minimum.
Location of drains on Westonby Moor.