Mountain top carbon saving

Last Saturday, a couple of us from Talybont Energy joined a cross-community project led by Pip Woolf, a Llangynidr based artist and Director of The Green Valleys.

Pip has initiated a novel experiment to see if laying down sheets of sheep wool felt, impregnated with heather seeds, might enable re-growth of vegetation and help stabilise peat in the Black Mountains.

According to the National Trust, British peat bogs store carbon equivalent to about 20 years’ worth of national industrial emissions. However, two centuries of damage in some regions mean bogs are drying out, releasing carbon into the atmosphere. Healthy peat absorbs and stores carbon; but as it degrades, the carbon is released, ending up in the atmosphere as carbon dioxide.

Pip is focusing her pioneering experiment on a mountain ridge near Cwmdu where the bog vegetation was destroyed by a fire in the 1970’s and has never recovered leaving the peat bog open to years of erosion (see below).

Pip and Gil have spent the past few months getting volunteers from all over the area to make squares of woollen felt and sets of rough wooden pegs. No mean feat in itself.

30 plus volunteers from the Green Valleys communities met up on Saturday and loaded our rucksacks with stacks of felt and wooden pegs. As we lumbered for over an hour to gain the steep mountain ridge, we prayed it wouldn’t rain and double the weight of the felt!

On top of the ridge, in a biting wind, we all worked together to peg down a wonderful, snaking line of white wool in contrast to the black peat scar. It looked striking, it felt therapeutic and we now wait to see whether it might work. It was certainly inspiring to engage in such a totally different kind of carbon saving activity.


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