All about Peat



The Peat beneath our feet

The fens along the upper valleys of the rivers Little Ouse and Waveney and their tributary streams, along the Norfolk/Suffolk border, formed on often deep deposits of peat. Peat is a dark brown or black soil, very rich in organic matter, made from the partially decayed remains of wetland plants. On this page you can find resources about this remarkable material and learn why the peat under our valley fens is so special and can support so many rare plants and animals.

This image shows a section cut down through the peat at LOHP Parkers Piece. It is 1.7mdeep and the base of it is an amazing 8,000 years old! 

For an introduction to peat click here.

For an overview of the peat on the Little Ouse/Waveney Valley Fens click here (NB 8MB file). Both of these presentations formed part of our celebration of the peat beneath our feet at the  LOHP's 'Peat Fest' in May 2018.

A series of three articles about the Little Ouse and Waveney Valley Fens from past issues of our newsletter News for the Ouse provide further background (click on the links to donload): 

  1. What are valley Fens and why do they matter?
  2. The five ages of fens (landscape and social history) 
  3. Why should we look after fens?