Fighting nature's might
Up on the top of Pen Trumau in the Black Mountains, the east wind searing despite the sun. Real horses and human horses carried wool, felted into blankets, and bundles of bog cotton up an hour and a half's climb to lay and plant them on the exposed peat. It all started in the 1970s when during a terribly hot summer, a fire started and smouldered on in the peat for ages. The ground in the foreground used to be covered by a meter of peat. Where the peat is exposed - some 40 hectares - it is washed off, blown off... Before long, the whole mountain top would be denuded. The Woollen Line project, driven by artist Pip Woolf, is to find ways of stopping the erosion and encourage the local grasses to stabilise the peat and green the mountain top again. It will take years and a phenomenal amount of effort from volunteers.
Today we pegged woollen felt to the ground in rows, and planted out plugs of bog cotton, both nurtured from seed and culled from the existing areas up on the top. It's a vast innovative project, both in scope and duration, but the problem exists on many hill tops in Britain.
For more, see Cathaber's blip here.