Thursday, August 15, 2013

Peat Cutting - North York Moors

High above Glaisdale head in grid square NZ7300 are  the last peat banks on the North Yorkshire Moors, there were once active peat cuttings immediately below Randy Mire reservoir just west of Beck Hole. These were last worked around the late 1970's and there are the faint trace of peat cuttings near Pike Hill Moss although these have not been worked for at least 50 years or more.

Ligging out or removing the peat uses a special peat spade and is carried out early in spring, they are then left to partially dry out. 

They are then stacked into rickles to fully  dry out 

Traditionally many farmers on or around the moors had rights to gather peat but The last cutters here are John Drew from Low Gill Farm and Mr J Thompson from Plumbtree Farm both in Glaisdale.

The rights to cut peat are held by properties - not by individuals.  Newcomers try to keep the tradition going but after a season or two discover it is much easier to install central heating, or simply buy coal and give up.  Mr J Thompson has now retired and no longer cuts peat.

Peat when burnt has a particular smell and burns with little flame and leaves only a fine ash in the hearth.

I have al,so just seen some pictures taken a couple of years ago of peat cutting near the Falcon Inn on the Scarborough Rd.  It shows peak stacks next to some forestry but I do not know the exact location.

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