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Dryhope peatland restoration work wins ‘Enhancing our Environment Award’

Date: 31 Oct 2018

Dryhope farm in the Yarrow Valley in the Scottish Borders, is part of Philiphaugh Estates which recently won an award (in collaboration with Tweed Forum) at the Scottish Land and Estates ‘Helping it Happen’ event in Edinburgh.

The award focussed on the restoration of damaged peatland and the connection between the uplands and the river Tweed. The peatland restoration project was in fact the culmination of a wide range of ecological improvements to the farm, which runs to over 800ha and from 250m above sea level at St Mary’s Loch, to 698m at Black Law. 

Innovation and a long-term vision is a hallmark of the estate, and in the mid 1990’s, the owner was concerned about the effect of overgrazing by sheep on the grouse moor, particularly on the numbers of Black grouse. Following the recommendation of an experienced botanist, most of the sheep grazing was removed from the highest part of the farm.  Following that, and with the help of the Tweed River Heritage Project, run by Tweed Forum, 70ha of native trees were planted in the lower valleys (cleuchs) to provide habitat for Black grouse and provide shade for streams threatened by climate warming. 

The native riparian woodlands also had the added benefit of reducing diffuse pollution from livestock. With heather in good condition following ten years of stock reduction, there was still the issue of eroding peat, which was a legacy of more intensive hill management.  The opportunity to re-profile 10km of eroding peat hags came about with funding from Peatland Action (Scottish Natural Heritage) and the Peatland Code. The NEX Group, who have funded part of this work through the IUCN Peatland Code, can be confident that their contribution has enabled the good work at Dryhope to continue for at least the next 50 years.  Hugh Chalmers, Tweed Forum 

Award Category: Enhancing our Environment Award sponsored by Bell Ingram

Scotland’s world beating rural landscapes and natural heritage have long been a major draw for its own people and visitors alike. Not only are they a draw for visitors, but they also play a vital role in our fight against climate change through activities such as tree planting and peatland restoration. This award recognises the fantastic projects, both large and small, being carried out across Scotland to support these goals.                                                                                                                        

Project Nomination Summary