Woodhead Gully Blocking Project

Woodhead Gully Blocking Project: Monitoring the effects of gully blocking at different spatial scales.

Monitoring the effectiveness of the Woodhead gully blocking programme in halting the erosion of peat (carbon) from the moorland; assessing the survival of dams, accumulation of peat behind gully blocks and regeneration of vegetation within blocked gullies.

The project also aims to investigate the impact of these works on water quality and patterns of water discharge across the catchment to inform potential impact of flood risk.

These data will be of particular value given that the Longdendale Catchment has been designated as a Water Safeguard Zone which essentially means no deterioration in water quality is permitted.

Location: Bleaklow North

Time scale: 2012 - 2014

Monitoring activities:

  1. Fortnightly water quality sampling, measuring dissolved and particulate organic carbon and absorbance across a range of wavelengths.
  2. Rain gauges and automated dipwells enable the analysis of links between rainfall, water table and flood peaks at three different sample points at different times of the year.
  3. High frequency summer storm monitoring - through v-notch weirs (peat based gullies) and parshall flumes (mineral based gullies).



Lead Officer: rachael.maskill@peakdistrict.gov.uk

In collaboration with Professor Martin Evans & Dr Tim Allott (University of Manchester)


Images (from left to right): Woodhead gullies; aerial view; Stone gully block; V-notch wier and Parshall flume.


  • Gully blocking in deep peat. Moors for the Future Research Report (2005) Evans, M. et al.
  • Evans, M. and Lindsay, J. (2010) The impact of gully erosion on carbon sequestration in blanket peatlands. Climate Research Vol 45, 31-41
  • Lane, S.N. and Milledge, D.G. (2011) Impacts of upland open drains upon runoff generation: a numerical assessment of catchment-scale impacts. Environment Agency.

Links to other Moors for the Future Projects:

The data collected from these sites follow the methodologies used our other hydrological monitoring projects:

  • Making Space for Water
  • Kinder Catchment Project

Data from all these projects will be used to adapt the Durham ‘Flowmap’
model (Lane and Milledge, 2011) to allow catchment-scale assessment of
the impacts of gully blocking on downstream flood risk.


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