Signs of life are beginning to show at one of Staffordshire’s most well-known nature reserves – less than two years after a fire devastated a large swathe of land.
A huge fire swept across Staffordshire Wildlife Trust’s Roaches nature reserve, near Leek, in August 2018, where 150 acres of moorlands, woodland and heath were destroyed, and dozens of firefighters spent days tackling the blaze.
Since then, the charity has spent much time working to help restore the area so eventually it can be brought back to life and allow wildlife to thrive on the land once more.
Gritstone dams and peat bunds in the ditch network were created to hold back water, rewetting the blanket bog and helping it recover. Moorland plants are regenerating, and sphagnum mosses are also spreading in the wet conditions.
Sphagnums are the bog builders which are so important for peatland restoration.
A team of hard-working volunteers planted many thousands of sphagnum plugs during the winter.
Jon Rowe, Roaches warden, said: “After the fire, we spent many months monitoring what we could do and what work needed to be done to restore the area.
“Over 300 years of peat development was lost, and we saw a loss of sphagnums which create the peat.
“There is a long way to go but this is a promising start. The land is still susceptible to wild fires and we’re continuing to inform people about the dangers fires or barbecues has on the land, including working with Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service
“We’d like to say a big thank you to all those volunteers who helped plant thousands of sphagnum plugs during the winter, especially being out in the freezing cold to carry out the work.”