Cam End peat restoration to improve rivers and wildlife UPDATE: COMPLETE

This project has now been successfully completed! 

Thanks to this project life for aquatic wildlife will begin to improve with drops in the levels of diffuse pollution, water temperature, fine sediment, and flash flooding expected.

Cam End is a designated common within the Cam Fell moorland. The common is mainly made up of blanket bog and heath and covers an area of approximately 697 hectares. This area forms a significant part of Cam Beck, which is one of the two first tributaries of the River Ribble.

The area has historically been subject to a range of modifications designed to improve the land for agricultural purposes, especially during the period following the Second World War when there was a huge drive for increased food production and self-sufficiency.

Pest restoration

An example of the peat erosion at Cam End

‘Grips’ were created to drain water from wet upland  areas to facilitate crop growth, and whilst these grips often started as a spade width channel, over time many have eroded to a much larger size, with one problem area now the width of two double decker buses. Combined with over-grazing this has caused a devastating loss of both peat and vegetation, with large patches of bare peat.

This degradation is resulting in the loss of an important BAP priority habitat and the species it potentially supports. This includes golden plovers, hen harriers, rare plant species, and a range of invertebrates including butterflies, beetles, moths, and spiders.

River hydrogeomorphology is also affected, with increased colouration or peat staining, and increased amounts of dissolved carbon and fine sediment within the water. With Cam End, and Cam Beck lying at the source of the river these problems have the potential to affect the whole river from source, to mouth, to sea.

Peat restoration

One of the bunded peat grips at Cam End

Peat degradation can also increase flood risk. Peat acts like a sponge which, in periods of high rainfall, can retain excess water. This water is then released slowly into rivers, preventing flash flooding. Without the peat the water runs rapidly off the higher ground and enters the river much more quickly, overwhelming the river and potentially causing flooding.

Thanks to an improvement in land management practises over recent years grazing has been brought under control. However, the grips still need to be addressed and thanks to Ribble Life Together we’re able to carry out a huge amount of grip blocking and reprofiling, revegetating, bunding of rapid overland flow, and stock exclusion fencing.  It is hoped that this work will not only prevent further damage but  will also help the area to recover  .

At Cam End we will:

Block and reprofile up to 25,250 metres of grips

Reprofile 4,000 m of hagged peat faces

Revegetate 6.45 ha of bare peat

Bund 0.7 ha of rapid overland flow and shallow rills

Bund 0.7 ha of rapid overland flow and shallow rills

Erect 4,800 m of stock exclusion fencing with access points

Peat restoration

Work on the grips is underway on Cam End