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Experience the Mystery and Beauty of the Whixall Mosses

Marches Mosses Credit: Stephen Barlow

The Whixall Mosses is a magical place, an unforgettable day out for the whole family, a way to reconnect with nature. Walk along the shady wooded paths into the Moss, emerging into the open expanse of the peatland. Experience the tranquility and quiet that is so difficult to find in today’s bustling urban life.

Lookout over Bettisfield Moss

Look up at the big sky, unusual an area surrounded by towns and cities. Now look at the ground under your feet – restored peatland that bounces as you walk on it.

Created more than 10,000 years ago as the glaciers that covered much of Britain receded, Whixall Mosses is one of the largest raised peat bogs in Britain. It encompasses the Fenn’s, Whixall and Bettisfield Mosses NNR along with Wem Moss and Cadney Moss, all in northwest Shropshire and northeast Wales.

The Mosses are one of the rarest habitats on earth and an enormous carbon store, holding more carbon acre for acre than forest does. It’s a haven for plants and wildlife that thrive in the acidic peat. Many of these are seen in very few other places on earth.

The Mosses was badly damaged over hundreds of years as peat was cut for fuel and parts of the Moss drained for commercial peat cutting. Beginning in 2012, Shropshire Wildlife Trust, Natural England and Natural Resources Wales have been working to restore the 2,500 acres of the Mosses to healthy, functioning eco-systems again.

Walking on the Mosses

There are a number of marked walking trails on the Mosses including the Mosses Trail which is actually three walks in one; a walk along the Llangollen Canal towpath from Morris’ Bridge to a viewing platform looking out over the Moss; the History Trail that passes the most historically-important sites on the Mosses; and a circular trail on Bettisfield Moss.  You can find out more about these trails here.

Credit: Stephen Barlow

Bio-diversity on the Mosses

You can always find wildlife on the Mosses – from curlews and lapwings overhead to swarms of butterflies and moths around the wooded areas on the edges of the Moss and along the disused railway that runs through the western side of the area.

Lapwing over Marches Mosses Credit:
Stephen Barlow

 

 

 

 

 

 

Green Hairstreak butterfly on bilberry flower Credit: Stephen Barlow

 

Gatekeeper butterfly Credit: Stephen Barlow

 

Wildlife link

Brimstone Butterfly Credit: Stephen Barlow

Birdwatching at Sinker’s Fields

In 2018, Sinker’s Fields were added to the Marches Mosses landscape.  Across the Morris’ Bridge over the Llangollen Canal, they are a wonderful site for watching a wide range of birds. In the near future, Shropshire Wildlife Trust will install a bird hide at the edge of the site.  It will be easily accessible and provide a quiet site to watch the birds on the Sinker Fields in any weather.

Curlew in Flight Over Marches Mosses Credit: Stephen Barlow

Spoonbill at Sinker’s Fields Credit: Stephen Barlow

Future Development on the Mosses

In addition to the walking trails on the Mosses,  Shropshire Wildlife Trust is developing some exciting visitor facilities.  These will include:

  • The Viewfinder Trail, where you can learn more about the development of the Mosses and the amazing wildlife, some of which are found only in this rare habitat
  • A viewing platform where you can look out over the expanse of the 2,500 acre Mosses
  • A bird hide at Sinker’s Fields, so birdwatchers can sit in tranquil comfort while looking for the wide variety of species that visit the fields.

These will be accessible on foot from the Morris’ Bridge car park.  Watch the Meres & Mosses website for updates on the grand openings of these facilities over the next few months.

Visiting the Whixall Mosses

You can arrive by car, canal boat, cycle or on foot.

There are car parks at the Morris’ Bridge and several other entrances to the Mosses. You can moor your canal boat near Morris’ Bridge and walk to the Mosses, or you can walk from the nearby Whixall Marina.

Whether you are interested in wildlife, history, taking photographs, painting, or simply want to walk in a peaceful area, there is something for you at the Whixall Mosses.

How to find the Whixall Mosses

Here’s how to find us:  http://themeresandmosses.co.uk/boglifemap

You can find out more here

You can find out more about the Whixall Mosses at www.themeresandmosses.co.uk.

In that website we have a section specifically about visiting the Mosses:: https://themeresandmosses.co.uk/visiting-the-mosses/

Follow us on Twitter:  @MeresandMosses

 

 

 

 

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