History in the peat

We were out in the hill today when we came across a peat hag which had recently broken away revealing a tree root which was as fresh as if it was growing yesterday.

I had always thought that these roots dated back to before the last ice age but this was only buried about 50cm into the peat. According to the ecologist who was with me peat bogs grow at a rate of about 1mm per year suggesting this tree may have been growing as recently as 500 years ago – in the C16. It doesn’t imply there was wholesale forest cover but some trees growing in the peat. It would be fascinating to be able to accurately visualise how that land looked and was used then.

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