Case study:Peatland restoration project: Rivers Alport and Ashop

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Location: 53° 24' 15", -1° 50' 11"
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Project overview

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Status Complete
Project web site
Themes Economic aspects, Flood risk management, Habitat and biodiversity, Hydromorphology, Monitoring, Water quality
Country England
Main contact forename Richard
Main contact surname Vink
Main contact user ID
Contact organisation The National Trust for Places of Historic Interest or Natural Beauty
Contact organisation web site
Partner organisations Moors for the Future
Parent multi-site project
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Project summary

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The funding obtained from CRF will be used to implement a programme of moorland restoration aimed at improving the water quality in two river catchments within the Dark Peak SSSI. Many river catchments of the Dark Peak SSSI contain significant areas of bare and eroding peat, which is the dominant reason for failure of various waterbodies. There are significant correlations between levels of dissolved organic carbon (DOC), colour and organic phosphorus, and particulate organic carbon (POC) and metals in the water.

Works included: Timber and stone dams creation; aerial spreading of lime/seeds/fertiliser; supply and spread bags of heather brash.

This project is one of 3 Multi-objective Flood Demonstration Catchment Projects funded by Defra in response to the Pitt review of the 2007 summer floods. The project aims to gather evidence on the impact of the stabilisation of bare and eroding peat on upland blanket bog habitat in the South Pennine Moors Special Area of Conservation (SAC). An ecological restoration toolkit used to 'restore' blanket bogs for Natural Flood Management (NFM) benefits was tested within 1ha experimental headwater catchments and attempts were made to identify the mechanisms through which NFM benefits are realised. The restoration method included blocking deep erosion gullies using timber and stone dams and revegetation of bare peat with a facultative grass crop that provided temporary stabilisation of the peat mass. The developing vegetation, in addition to several years of lime and fertiliser, helped to ameliorate environmental conditions and facilitate the subsequent diversification to a community typical of blanket bogs, including Sphagnum mosses. Modelling was carried out in the project both to upscale the results and to indicate how gully blocking techniques could be optimised for NFM benefit. An earlier study had found that water flow velocities were slower through Sphagnum than through grass/sedge vegetation (Holden et al. 2008), meaning that additional benefits are likely to be realised as Sphagnum becomes established. To 'fast track' this evidence, 36,000 sphagnum plants were planted in 2014 into one of the 1ha experimental catchments. Monitoring is ongoing with funding in place to continue until 2021, 9 years post stabilisation and 6 years after Sphagnum application. Evidence from data collected for 3 years following bare peat stabilisation (involving revegetation with a facultative nurse grass crop) resulted in: • statistically significant: reductions in peak storm discharge (37%) • increases in storm-flow lag times (267%) • increases in water tables (35mm) • increases in overland flow production (18%) There were no statistically significant changes in percentage run-off, indicating limited changes to within-storm catchment storage. Although there appeared to be some additional benefits of gully blocking, these were not statistically significant compared with the impacts of revegetation of bare peat alone. Stormwater moved through stabilised catchments more slowly, attenuating flow and storm hydrograph responses. The most important hydrological process response to stabilisation was a reduction in flow velocities associated with increased surface roughness following the establishment of vegetation cover, with these benefits largely realised within one year of intervention.

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Catchment and subcatchment


River basin district Humber
River basin Derbyshire Derwent


River name River Ashop from Source to R Alport
Area category 10 - 100 km²
Area (km2)
Maximum altitude category 500 - 1000 m
Maximum altitude (m) 627
627 m
0.627 km
62,700 cm
Dominant geology Siliceous
Ecoregion Great Britain
Dominant land cover Bog
Waterbody ID GB104028057930


WFD water body codes GB104028057930
WFD (national) typology
WFD water body name River Ashop from Source to R Alport
Pre-project morphology
Reference morphology
Desired post project morphology
Heavily modified water body No
National/international site designation UK - Site of Special Scientific Interest
Local/regional site designations
Protected species present No
Invasive species present No
Species of interest
Dominant hydrology
Dominant substrate
River corridor land use
Average bankfull channel width category
Average bankfull channel width (m)
Average bankfull channel depth category
Average bankfull channel depth (m)
Mean discharge category
Mean annual discharge (m3/s)
Average channel gradient category
Average channel gradient
Average unit stream power (W/m2)

Project background

Reach length directly affected (m)
Project started 2012/08/01
Works started
Works completed
Project completed 2015/03/31
Total cost category 1000 - 5000 k€
Total cost (k€) 2,705
2,705 k€
2,705,000 €
Benefit to cost ratio
Funding sources Defra Catchment Restoration Fund

Cost for project phases

Phase cost category cost exact (k€) Lead organisation Contact forename Contact surname
Investigation and design
Stakeholder engagement and communication
Works and works supervision
Post-project management and maintenance

Reasons for river restoration

Mitigation of a pressure Riparian development
Hydromorphology Channel pattern/planform
Other reasons for the project Landscape enhancement


Structural measures
Bank/bed modifications Large woody derbis dams
Floodplain / River corridor
Planform / Channel pattern
Other Agricultural/Farming improvements
Non-structural measures
Management interventions
Social measures (incl. engagement)
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Hydromorphological quality elements

Element When monitored Type of monitoring Control site used Result
Before measures After measures Qualitative Quantitative

Biological quality elements

Element When monitored Type of monitoring Control site used Result
Before measures After measures Qualitative Quantitative

Physico-chemical quality elements

Element When monitored Type of monitoring Control site used Result
Before measures After measures Qualitative Quantitative

Any other monitoring, e.g. social, economic

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Before measures After measures Qualitative Quantitative

Monitoring documents

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Supplementary Information

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