Invitation to Tender – Viewing Platform Interpretation

May 27, 2020

 Shropshire Wildlife Trust has issued an Invitation to Tender (ITT) for Viewing Platform Interpretation at the Marches Mosses.

Marches Mosses BogLIFE Project      LIFE15/NAT/UK/000786

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Overview of Shropshire Wildlife Trust (the contracting organisation)

Shropshire Wildlife Trust is a charity founded in 1962 and dedicated to the conservation of Shropshire’s wildlife species and habitats.  The Trust plays an important role in providing information and education for all ages on how to observe, enjoy and protect wildlife. The Trust owns/manages 40 nature reserves throughout Shropshire.  Its headquarters is also a visitor centre in Shrewsbury.

Shropshire Wildlife Trust is a registered charity number 212744 and a company registered in England and Wales, number 729746. Registered Address 193 Abbey Foregate, Shrewsbury, SY2 6AH

Project Background

The Marches Mosses BogLIFE project (LIFE15 NAT/UK/000786) is a five year project running from 1 October 2016 to 31 December 2021. The project aims to restore Britain’s third largest lowland raised bog within the Fenn’s, Whixall & Bettisfield Mosses and Wem Moss NNRs (National Nature Reserve) near Whitchurch, Shropshire and Wrexham in Wales. The LIFE project is led by Natural England working in partnership with Natural Resources Wales and Shropshire Wildlife Trust. The multi-million pound project is supported by an EU LIFE grant and The National Lottery Heritage Fund.

More information can be found at

The partnership will restore lowland raised peatbog and marginal fen habitat but also improve the intellectual and physical access to the mosses. This will involve new facilities and a range of interpretive materials for visitors to the Mosses. This tender invitation is in addition to that for a viewfinder trail along the existing NNR Green Trail and will be followed by further opportunities such as proposed interpretation in a bird hide and other local car parks and facilities.

Tender location

The site lies within the SAC and Ramsar designation of Whixall Moss NNR, next to the Llangollen Canal near the English/ Welsh border on the Quob, west of the Prees branch junction at Roving Bridge. It is located next to Natural England’s existing boardwalk and seating area on the Quob between Whixall and Bettisfield Mosses at approximately at SJ 48317 35419. (See Appendix 1 location plan.)

The nearest Car Park is at Morris Bridge (a short walk from the viewing platform) which is 5.3 miles north of Wem and 6.5 miles south west of Whitchurch.  The postcode for Morris Bridge car park is SY13 2RX.

The planned location can be reached on foot from Morris Bridge Car Park using the tow path and all ability trail. The ‘Green Trail’ from Morris Bridge also passes close by

The NNR leaflet can be found here:

Photographs of the location are found in Appendix 2


 The Tender is to design, supply and fix interpretation to the Mammoth Viewing Platform. (See Appendix 3 for detailed plans of the viewing platform)

The viewing platform, standing at a height of 5m, with an integrated staircase, will enable visitors to enjoy an unrestricted view across the Moss and will be an integral feature in visitor attractions for the area.

We are currently awaiting planning permission for the platform and expect a decision by the end of June 2020. We are issuing this specification now in the hope we can schedule the selected contactor to install the interpretation soon after the platform is constructed, which is expected to be October / November 2020. Please note the installation of the platform may suffer delays due to planning hold ups, ground conditions and Covid-19 restrictions / delays.

Interpretation themes for project activities have been identified:

Main theme

The Mosses may appear to be a massive wild no-man’s land but:

  • They are home to some wonderful secretive wildlife,
  • They reduce the chance of surrounding land and villages being flooded by holding back kilolitres of water,
  • Their layers of peat help fight climate change by storing masses of carbon.


  1. The BogLIFE project is working hard to re-wet the Mosses, after a long period of commercial peat cutting and draining, so that they:
  • are better for wildlife,
  • Hold back more rainwater – slowing the flow
  • Store more carbon as the peat is regenerated.
  1. You too can help by:
  • Sticking to the marked trails so as not to disturb the wildlife,
  • Keeping your dog on a lead to protect ground nesting birds,
  • Using peat free compost in your garden.
  1. People have always seen the Mosses as a wild no-man’s land on the Wales/England border where:
  • Bodies were deposited during prehistoric times
  • World War I soldiers practiced their skills and equipment
  • A massive decoy (Starfish site) was constructed during World War II
  • Commercial peat cutting and processing occurred until around 1990
  • a well-known and busy but unsightly and polluting scrapyard operated.
  1. These Mosses are now an internationally important peatland. This wide open space is one of the rarest habitats on earth, and is right on your doorstep. You can get up close and intimate to it by:
  • Enjoying safe, level walking opportunities on trails, footpaths, canal towpath and bird hide
  • Sitting quietly and listening to the pure silence
  • Marvelling in awe at the sheer size of the open space (1000 ha)
  • Visiting at different times of the year to see the changing wildlife.
  1. The Mosses are part of a wider web of sites: the Meres and Mosses – if you enjoy this one you may enjoy others. (See for more information)

The platform is seen as key to enabling visitors to appreciate the awe and wonder of the Mosses, the pattern of the landscape left from centuries of peat cutting and the restoration works being undertaken. We anticipate interpretation will be incorporated into the structure that demonstrates the carbon-storing value of peat bogs, how important it is to maintain a healthy, functioning habitat and how long it takes for peat to form. We consider these to be key messages in the current climate crisis. We hope to see proposals for innovative, tactile installations that are accessible to all (in terms of age and ability) and that add to the spirit of a ‘destination’.

We are conscious that the staircase reduces accessibility for some. To mitigate for this we have included a periscope which can be accessed at the bottom of the platform.

We are keen for tactile elements to be included so they are inclusive of all visitors and stimulate curiosity through the medium of touch.

The viewing platform has a number of features which could lend themselves to imaginative interpretation. These include, handrails, boardwalks, decking, staircase and balustrades. There may also be opportunity to site free-standing interpretation should this be identified by the successful contractor.

We envisage that interpretation could start near to the canal towpath, drawing visitors in and up to the top of the 5m platform.

The viewing platform will be constructed using a combination of recycled plastic and sustainably sourced treated softwood with main support legs constructed from sustainably sourced hardwood. Materials used for interpretation should be durable, inert and sustainable with minimal maintenance implications. The end result should visually complement the viewing platform and the special habitat of the NNR and should not distract from it.

Access to the platform for materials and equipment by the successful contractor will be made via the NNR by agreement with NE project staff.

Costs and Timescales


Activity Date / time
Issue of Contract Notice / availability of ITT documents 27th May 2020
Deadline for submission of ITT responses by potential suppliers (Tender Response Deadline) 9am, 29th June 2020
Contract offered to winning contractor 20th July 2020

 We have a budget of £10,000 (inclusive of VAT).

Ideally we would be looking for this contract to be fulfilled in autumn 2020.

Tender Response

Shropshire Wildlife Trust exists to protect wildlife for the future; sustainability is at the heart of the Trust’s activities. However, we recognise that through our operations we can have an adverse impact on the environment. We will therefore seek to minimise any negative environmental impacts and to achieve continuous improvement in our environmental performance.

We seek tenders that are in keeping with our Environmental Policy. For further information please see our Environmental Policy and our Environmental Sustainability Policy (Appendix 4 and 5)

Please supply a response including:

  • A covering letter explaining your past experience and suitability for the contract
  • Examples of previous work and references
  • An overview of your methodology and approach
  • Detail of the materials you will use, how you will meet the brief, what practises will support SWT’s environmental considerations
  • What your availability is for completing the work
  • Project schedule with milestones
  • Total cost (inc. VAT if relevant) with itemised quotation
  • On all documents please quote: Marches Mosses BogLIFE Project (LIFE15 NAT/UK/000786)

Your tender response must remain open for acceptance by SWT for a period of 90 days from the Tender Response Deadline. A tender response not valid for this period may be rejected. The successful supplier will be required to complete an approved contractor’s questionnaire before the contract can be let.

Quotes should be returned by email to  by 9am on 22nd June 2020.



Quotes will be scored against the following criteria to achieve best value:

  • Ability to deliver the works (proven track record, relevant past experience and availability) – 50%
  • Cost – 45%
  • Empathy of the Trust’s environmental sustainability policy and environmental procurement policy – 5%

Contact & Further Information

For an informal discussion please contact Michael Clifton on 01691 780733 or by email

Coronavirus Lockdown

Due to Coronavirus restrictions all project staff are currently working from home so we are unable to arrange a site visit to discuss any concepts.

We acknowledge that during the Coronavirus outbreak, contractors may find it difficult to obtain materials or may be experiencing staff shortages. We wish to reassure contractors that we will take this in to account during the tender process and in the successful delivery of the above tender and timescales outlined. If contractors are experiencing difficulties, please contact Michael Clifton on 01691 780733 or email

You can download the complete package of tender documents, including the appendices here:Viewing Platform Interpretation ITT.


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