Three hot days and a thunderstorm

There's an old joke that says that summer in Britain consists of 'three hot days and a thunderstorm', which is exactly what has been happening with the weather over the last week, as a results of us being slapped around by the tail end of Hurricane Alex - on Tuesday we had over 100mm of rain in a day (that's over 4 inches for my colonial friends ;-). In fact only a couple of weeks ago I was out walking and the conditions were more like late October than midsummer - this shot was taken from the top of Lawrence Edge, looking west down the Longdendale reservoir chain.

Longdendale

One of the consequences of the long-standing pollution of the Dark Peak moorland is that it kills the plant cover on the moors, which exposes the bare peat underneath. When there is heavy rain the peat gets rapidly eroded and washed away, as you can see by the colour of the water going down Wildboar Clough:

Wildboar Clough

The Moors for the Future project is trying to repair over 100 years of damage and revegetate the bare peat surfaces. This is partly funded by the Water Authority who have a vested interest, both because the peat silts up the reservoirs, and because it costs money to remove the discolouration from the water.

Now that the fence around Bleaklow has been completed and this year's helicopter reseeding and liming has taken place, it's astonishing how rapidly the vegetation has recovered, especially after last year's disastrous fires. I think the major factor has been the fence, as existing grass which was cropped flat is now 30-40 cms long and covered in seed heads. I've always suspected that the real cause of the problems was largely due to overgrazing by sheep, and the way the vegetation has bounced back proves it. So much for the farming fraternity being 'The guardians of the countryside', as they are always fond of telling us! For a long time they've pointed the finger at walkers as being the cause of the erosion, but it's quite difficult to see how that could be the case - people prefer to walk along well-defined paths, and the moors suffer mostly from widespread surface denudation rather than footpath erosion, which has been reduced anyway since most of the more eroded path has been resurfaced with stone flags.

One benefit of the damp spell we've been having is it keeps everything moist, allowing things like these rather splendid fungi to grow, the big one at the back was 20cm (8") across.

Fungi

However, it hasn't been raining all the time, last weekend I took the kids out for a wander around Tintwistle Low, the picture below is looking southwards across the valley, over Valehouse reservoir and towards Glossop, which is just out of view over the hill in the foreground. - my house is about 4k (2.5 miles) away from here. The ridge on the far left skyline is the southern edge of Kinder.

Tintwistle Low

Categories : Peak District