Soggy moorland helping to stop soggy carpets

Rachel Pickering – Conservation Officer

I wish that my favourite view in the National Park was tucked away somewhere that nobody else knew about – but it isn’t.  Instead it’s one of our most photographed views – the Hole of Horcum within Levisham Estate. Not only is the view stunning but it has also proved to be a key location for landscape works towards the Slowing the Flow in Pickering project.

Work began on 8 January 2014 on the bund at Newbridge which will store flood waters upstream of Pickering. This work is a culmination of efforts by a number of partner organisations over the last few years to make changes to upstream land management to slow down the water running off the North York Moors and into Pickering Beck before it gets into Pickering town.  For the last three years the National Park Authority has been busy carrying out the following work on its own land at Levisham Estate.

Slowing the Flow - tree planting

Tree planting

Wooden dams created

Slowing the Flow - moorland gully blocking photo taken November 2012 - shows heather bales holding water back

Moorland gully blocking

  • The National Park Authority has spent £7,000 on partially blocking natural occurring moorland gullies with heather bales on various parts of the Estate.


Re-vegetation work

  • Heather brash has been spread in the Hole of Horcum to aid re-vegetation after the previous years’ bracken control left areas of bare ground.

Footpath repair work

  • An eroding footpath into the Hole of Horcum has recently been repaired with improved drainage that will slow down run off along the route.

Heather burning buffers

The hope is that with this type of beneficial land management established upstream of Pickering, along with the creation of the bund just to the north of the town, the chance of extreme flooding events will be lessened in the future.

5 thoughts on “Soggy moorland helping to stop soggy carpets

  1. Deliberately blocking streams with logs and other debris is misguided.
    All of this material will inevitably break lose and go downstream at some point, there is a good chance it will block other structures such as bridges, potentially with locally devastating effect.
    If I was downstream and found the river blocked and diverted by deliberately placed material I would be tempted to seek damages from the upstream owners.

    Surely in any case the adjacent ‘wetted’ area is trivial in most of these locations? (illustrated in the article).
    The concept can be made to seem plausible in theory but on the ground I think it is largely fantasy and unlikely to have the slightest impact of flows during a heavy rain event.

  2. Pingback: Woodland with added purpose | The official blog for the North York Moors National Park

  3. Pingback: Slowing down | The official blog for the North York Moors National Park

  4. The heather bales shown on this page still have their wrap on. Is this bale-wrap different from the ‘normal’ bale-wrap used for straw etc? If not, then it will not break down but will cause a hazard for animals and contribute to the problem of littering.

  5. The heather bales used to block the water channels were wrapped in agricultural bale netting. It was necessary to leave the netting in place to retain the bale structure and to extend the life expectancy of the bales.

    A lot of the bales are now starting to be covered by moss and other vegetation. In some locations this has completely covered the bale netting. Ideally, we’d like to remove the netting from these bales but it would be impossible to do so without destroying the structure they have created since they were installed.

    We believe the netting will bio-degrade but this may take a long time. Therefore, we inspect the bale sites annually and would remove any loose exposed netting which was seen to be a potential hazard or litter problem.

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