Local volunteers, alongside members of the Friends of Ilkley Moor and Bradford Council’s Countryside and Rights of Way team, have united in an ambitious endeavour to bolster the ecological health of Ilkley Moor. Their collaborative efforts saw the planting of an additional 4,000 sphagnum moss plants, a crucial step towards nurturing the growth of blanket bog, a keystone habitat for the moor.

The significance of sphagnum moss cannot be overstated, as it plays a pivotal role in the formation of peat, capturing carbon and maintaining the moor’s moisture levels. Moreover, its presence enhances biodiversity, mitigates flooding downstream, and fortifies resilience against wildfires.

Assisting in this environmental initiative were teams from esteemed organisations including Natural England, the Environment Agency, Bradford 2025, Rebel Restoration, and the Moors for the Future Partnership. Their collective contribution underscores the widespread commitment to enhancing moss coverage across Ilkley Moor.

Councillor Alex Ross-Shaw, Portfolio Holder for Regeneration, Planning and Transport, who also helped with the planting, said: “This work was an element of the overall moorland restoration project we are funding, along with partners from Rebel Restoration* and the Friends of Ilkley Moor.

“We have developed the plan with the Moors for the Future Partnership, and we will be focusing on the main catchments that flow from the moor into Wharfedale. This will also include slowing the flow from the moor by installing leaky dams – scheduled to take place later this summer. We are very grateful for the efforts of all the people and organisations who took part and continue to support us in trying to increase this important habitat’s resilience to climate change.”