ECOWild: Exploring Wild Garsdale Pike

The Green Lancaster team explore Garsdale Pike.

On Saturday 29th October the Green Lancaster Team and volunteers braved the wind and rain on their ECOWild trip to Wild Garsdale Pike.

Wild Garsdale Pike, a youth-led environmental project, aims to educate young people about the environmental challenges faced by much of the UK’s upland landscapes and involve them in conservation efforts being made to combat such challenges.

Upon arrival we met with Rosey Grandage, the owner of the land, who was eager to tell us all about the area and the ongoing projects they are undertaking. Volunteers had the opportunity to witness Rosey and her team identifying moths that they had captured on the hillside and even attempt a bit of identification themselves.

After this Rosey took us for a walk up the hill pointing out interesting facts about the history of the land as we went. On our climb up the hillside we also got to have a closer look at many interesting mushrooms and other plant species such as cowberry and bilberry (otherwise known as blueberries) which grow naturally on the peatlands of Garsdale Pike.

After a quick break for lunch and snacks looking over the impressive glacial valleys of Cumbria, we began working on peat surveying. Volunteers split into groups and using a peat probe and a quadrat, began testing the depth of the peat bogs and recording the types of vegetation that were present on the peatland. This is important information as peat bogs are significant areas that are great for storing large amounts of carbon and water but unfortunately in the UK, around 80% of them have been severely damaged by agricultural practices such as draining the land for grazing. The great work that is being done on Garsdale Pike by Rosey and her team aims to understand just how big these losses have been and to monitor them as they attempt to begin restoring the peats back to their original state.

After an interesting and informative day walking (and squelching) through the peat bogs and having thanked Rosey for taking the time to give us a great tour of Garsdale Pike, students were ready to warm up on the car ride back to campus, glad to have contributed to the monitoring of some of our most important landscapes.

If you would like to find out more about the Wild Garsdale Pike project take a look at their website. Equally if you want to learn more about how to register for our upcoming field trips or other events, visit the Green Lancaster events feed on our website and don’t hesitate to follow us on social media (Facebook; Instagram)!

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