Damming on the Carr

Prestwick Carr, delivering materials onto the bog

While Sally travelled south to the New Forest for a Society of National Park Staff event Duncan was hard at work closer to home.  Prestwick Carr is a peatland site of national importance on the edge of Newcastle upon Tyne.  Part of the work of Northumberland Wildlife Trust is currently in helping to repair the damage done on this land by past drainage.  So today I (Duncan) was out getting on with the job of blocking old drainage ditches with some colleagues from the Trust.

Kara and Sarah construct a dam

The first part of the job was delivering materials out onto the site which was achieved using a quad bike and trailer.  The ground is rough and hard to negotiate in places but by taking small loads the materials were delivered close to where they will be used.  Much of the day had gone by the time the materials were out but we still had time to put in a couple of dams in the ditches.

The finished dam

The idea of damming the ditches is to raise water levels. Raised water levels will help to repair the peat bog and thus protect it for the future.  We are using recycled plastic for the dams as access here is awkward and the peat is rather too dry to use as a dam in its own right.  Once these dams fill up behind them the site will begin to recover.  They are quite hard work to install but there is a satisfaction when each one is completed, particularly when it begins to hold water behind it.


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The Hutt Family from Northumberland
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4 Responses to Damming on the Carr

  1. vivinfrance says:

    You’re all doing a grand job.

  2. ged says:

    Can you please tell me why a Mature beech tree has been double ringed at the latest tree felling site?, Did you not know that there was a adult Peregrine using a tree less that 50m from this tree!
    All this flooding the car will not help all the mammals that are already there. In the wood there already brown hare & these will struggle now, not to mention the fox setts & the badger that visit.
    Cutting down & killing healthy mature trees is so wrong, i wait for a reply,

    • thehutts says:

      Specific questions regarding the management of the site should be directed to Northumberland Wildlife Trust who are undertaking a programme of work on the site: this blog is not officially linked to the Trust.
      However it is appropriate to consider some of the general issues raised by the comment. Nearly all wildlife conservation is about habitats and not species. In any management (whether active conservation measures, benign neglect or active destruction) some species will benefit while others will not. Prestwick Carr is a relic of a lowland raised mire (with associated habitats); 94% of this habitats has been lost or seriously damaged through drainage or peat extraction. It is such a rare commodity that it is worth trying hard to repair past damage. Restoration efforts will alter the habitat, improving it for specialists and making it less optimal for some (generalist) species.
      Very few people like to see change. Active management provides a relatively rapid, visible, change while non-management sees a slow imperceptible change that can be hugely destructive but manifests itself over a long period. Interestingly historical records for this site include all of the species listed in the comment above as well as a huge number of species now long lost. Those Victorian surveyors would probably be horrified to see how much has been lost and would be upset by the changes that had occurred since they were wandering over the area, something that the work on site is simply trying to reverse.

      • ged says:

        Thanks for the informative reply, I will contact the trust direct as i am still at a loss as to why so many strong healthy trees were felled? Would it not have been better for them to die & decay as so many do thus further enriching the habitat of the carr. & mainly to fell so close to a tree which would have possibly held a breeding peregrine this year.
        Thank you

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