To celebrate World Peatlands Day 2020 RSPB Scotland's Yvonne McMahon shares a bit about a peatland restoration project at our Loch Gruinart reserve.

Peatland in prints

lagavulin logoIn 2018 we worked with Lagavulin distillery to restore 300 hectares of Islay’s precious peatland. Peatlands are an integral part of Scotland’s natural landscape and have a critical role to play in addressing the nature and climate crisis. Artist Jane Smith created 12 handmade screen prints telling the story of the importance of peat to wildlife like curlew and dunlin. As we wait until we are able to welcome visitors back we thought we’d share a bit about this project and give you the chance to look at Jane’s amazing artwork virtually.

artwork featuring hare and fields

From peatland past…

During the 1840s Strath Mhor, a shallow peatland bowl, was drained, to improve it for agriculture and to allow hand cutting of the peat. This lowered the water table, causing the peat to dry out, impacting on this important habitat and affecting the water quality in the Abhainn a’ Mhuilinn river.

dragonflies in yellow

…to peatland present

In 2018, with funding from Lagavulin Distillery, we set about restoring the peatland to its natural condition by raising the water table to its original level and creating habitat for wildlife such as curlew and golden-ringed dragonfly. Following surveys on the site, peat dams were put in at regular intervals on the old drains. Recycled plastic dams were installed on steeper sections. Two years on and the work is beginning to reap rewards with RSPB Scotland’s James How noting, “The flow on the Abhainn a Mhuilinn water course has already stabilised and this year I have seen fish in it for the first time.”

 art featuring curlew

Jane Smith Islay Artwork 2018.pdf
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