The energy necessary to entrain soil in water depends on the soil strength. Once entrained, the settling velocity of the eroded soil in water is of fundamental importance to the processes of sediment transport and deposition. In this paper, stream power theory and transport concepts coupled with the equation of continuity were used to derive a transport-limited peat concentration. The ratio of the log of the actual sediment concentration in surface run-off to the log of the transport-limited sediment concentration was the index of erosion used. The value of this index is a measure of the sensitivity of peat to erosion by sheet flow. Four peats were subjected to a range of overland flow rates under two slopes in a laboratory flume. The peats represented peat farmed in a sustainable manner (Leenane), overgrazed peat (Maam), peat undergoing erosion (Newport) and peat which had undergone weathering following exposure by a landslip (Croagh Patrick). Both in situ and surface damaged slabs were studied. The results indicate that shearing and remoulding of a wet peat surface (e.g., by animal treading) and weathering of exposed drained peat surfaces predispose peat to erosion. Defoliation by overgrazing is considered to be of secondary importance.