The Flow Country

The Flow Country is the name given to the blanket peat and wet lands which cover over 400,000 ha (988,400 acres) of Caithness and Sutherland. It is probably the largest area of blanket bog in the northern hemisphere and one of the most intact such areas in the world. 'Flows' is the local term for the intricate pattern of peat bogs and pool systems (or 'dubh lochans'), but the term 'Flow Country' was coined by outsiders in the 1980s when conservationists mounted a sophisticated campaign to halt afforestation. The controversy ended with a judgement by the Secretary of State for Scotland dividing the Flow Country between forests and conservation but by 1990 large scale planting had ceased. The arguments in favour of conserving the Flows highlighted their landscape value, their significance as a biological resource and their wider scientific importance.

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