Sunday, 27 October 2013

For Peat's Sake...

Where do you go when you need a lump of peat?  I've been asked to talk about the history of Leighton Moss next Tuesday ... and to bring along some props. When I thought about it, a peat turf seemed an obvious visual aid: it's messy, substantial and absolutely essential to the history of the Mosses. I'm pretty certain that if I have a lump of the stuff in my hand it will be easier to explain its historic importance as domestic fuel (about 10,000 pieces a year would heat the average cottage) and why it's the archaeologist's friend (because it preserves organic material like wood and leather so well). More detailed peat facts will be culled from the excellent "Peat and Peat Cutting" by Ian D Rotheram which has been my bed-time reading this week.

But where was I going to find the stuff?  A 'phone call to Arthur and Barbara Walker provided an immediate and positive response. They have a wonderful strip of land on the old Yealand mosses and this morning they kindly agreed to dig up a clod. I've just been down to pick it up: wonderful, dark, woody, fibrous stuff it is too, still oozing a tea-coloured peat juice. Just the job! Thanks Arthur and Barbara.

Barbara and Peat

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