• Mikael Trewick

Roudsea Year 6!

If you've been here before, you'll know that ELMsolutions LTD have been on a long term contract to treat rhododendron on Roudsea Woods and Mosses, Managed by Natural England.

This year, during one of the hottest weeks on record. We returned to apply pesticide to this year's regrowth.

In previous years, it's been obvious the impact the past 6 years have had, none more so than this year. With the site surpassing the growth of the years before, this particular Peatlands success is apparent from the gate. We picked our way along a very overgrown track, dodging small scrub and fallen branches, parking up in the woodland where we start every year. Looking at what was once a rhododendron mass, we saw oak, silver birch and rowan saplings, entirely free to begin their growth, succeeding the older birch. But it is when you reach the edge of this open Peatland that the beauty grabs you.

What was once a mass of mulched timber, in dispersed by bare peat and open water, sphagnum lakes, Heather Islands, cotton grass humps, sundew terraces and ghostly deadwood stretch seemingly forever (and with the heat haze, it could well have been). With the site needing a full walk over, it was key to measure temperature, avoid the hottest parts of the days, and spend plenty of time glued to a water bottle. Aside from the ospreys circling overhead, the occasional flash of a small mammal, the heat sent the moors entirely silent. With areas visibly depressed with lack of water.

This isn't an issue, with most of the peat covered, all of the water is held below the surface, the water that does venture higher is immediately held In humid suspension, disguising the risks of the ground to the operator. But we press on, by Friday, when dinner was almost over, with an audible relief from birds and plant alike, the skies opened. Soaking the land once more after the pesticide had dried.

We left the site knowing we may be the most fortunate people in the country, and some of the few able to be here, as the peat enters its "leave alone to grow" phase.

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