The Environment

turf

Along the Suck Valley Way Walk, the rock is Carboniferous Limestone which underlines so much of the Midlands of Ireland, but everywhere it is covered by a deep layer of soil or turf (peat) so that there is hardly an out-crop to be found on the length of the Way. There are large areas of “raised bog” which started as ponds or marshes, and gradually, through the growth of sphagnum moss and because in the acid soil there was little decay, became higher and higher – hence the name “raised bog” in contrast to the “blanket bog” which covers so many of our mountains.

The boglands which you cross on the Way are, paradoxically it may seem to readers, fairly dry because much drainage has been carried out. They have been exploited for centuries by the local people for the turf which has been the traditional fuel of the region. Now the old methods of hand “winning” the turf are being superseded by machine extraction.