IT has been another busy year for the Friends of Crompton Moor group working on the Moor’s 76-hectare site.
This is not just an area of moorland as the name portrays but an area of mixed habitats that have evolved from a once degraded industrial site with sparse to non-existent wildlife.
The extensive area of moorland consists of a mixture of acid grassland, marshy grassland, dry heath and wet modified bog with areas of conifer plantation and small pools.
Substantial parts of the site are on a peat substrate. The site is of considerable value for birds.
Apart from birds, Crompton Moor supports a variety of wildlife including frog, toad, common shrew, field and bank vole, wood mouse, weasel, bat, fox, deer, and brown hare; not to mention butterflies, bees, dragonflies and damselflies.
Our challenges are to protect and maintain the site for its wildlife and users. The biggest challenge we have had to face is understanding its ecology; the branch of biology that deals with the relations of organisms to one another and to their physical surroundings.
The group could not have done this without the assistance of the Greater Manchester Ecology Unit, Moors for the Future and City of Trees.
They helped FoC plant 3,500 broadleaf native trees, and 11,750 plugs of Sphagnum moss, which will not only trap carbon but also help to alleviate flooding into the valley of Shaw and Crompton below.
The sphagnum is being planted to stabilise the landscape, raise water tables and increase biodiversity.
The restoration of natural processes, and the planting of trees in specific areas, may also have a positive impact on flood risk.
Peatlands are among the most valuable ecosystems on the planet and a stark example of how important the natural environment is to our wellbeing.
Occupying just three per cent of the Earth’s land surface, peatlands are the largest carbon store on land.
They are places where people derive clean water and food, also acting as buffers for environmental disasters, such as flooding.
They are also of global significance for biodiversity with the majority of peatland species and habitats rare, threatened or declining.
This year has also seen the removal of approximately 4,000 young trees from within heathland which to some may seem a bit of an anomaly.
However, this is a necessity if the heather, bilberry, crowberry and mosses in this rare landscape are to be retained.
Heathland vegetation will only grow in unfertile soil and trees would fertilise the soil to the detriment of the heathland vegetation.
There are right places and wrong places for trees to be planted and it is a matter of understanding the habitats and ecology to get this right.
Other work such as repairing fences and drystone walls, clearing the bridleways, removing invasive vegetation, cutting back aggressive vegetation and keeping the area clear of litter are all tasks the group’s valued members and volunteers have continued to do throughout the year.
This work will continue into 2020 and beyond, with a number of new projects to add to next year’s calendar.
Why not make it your new year’s resolution to join Friends of Crompton Moor?
The work they are doing may seem a little daunting to some, whether that is lack of knowledge or perhaps some prospective members may feel it might be to strenuous.
However, all ages and abilities can be accommodated. With the support and skills training from GMEU, Moors for the Future, and City of Trees you will learn new skills, keep fit, and enjoy working in a beautiful setting.
For more details contact Marian Herod on 07792 156295 or email firstname.lastname@example.org