Fenn’s, Whixall, Bettisfield, Wem & Cadney Mosses Site of Special Scientific Interest, straddling the English/Welsh border near Whitchurch, is of international importance for wildlife. The Mosses are one of the most southerly lowland raised bogs in Britain and, at 948 hectares (2,340 acres), are the third largest.
Lowland raised bogs are slow-growing domes of Sphagnum bogmoss peat, fed only by rainwater. Bogmoss absorbs and acidifies the rain, water-logging the peat surface so only specialised plants and animals survive. Dying plants, together with pollen from vegetation on and around the bogs, become ‘pickled’ as layers of peat, forming giant storybooks of the last 12,000 years.
Raised bog plants and animals are now rare as so many bogs have been drained for peat cutting or for conversion to farmland or forestry. In ten years, commercial peat cutting for gardening or fuel can remove peat that took one thousand years to form.
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