Visiting The Mosses

Experience the Mystery and Beauty of the Mosses

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The Marches Mosses are 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.

Look up at the big sky, unusual an area surrounded by towns and cities.

Whixall Moss Credit: Tim Walter

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, the Marches Mosses are one of the largest raised peat bogs in Britain. 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 ecosystems again.

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 2022, a stunning bird hide was added onto the site.

Walking on the Mosses

There are a number of marked walking trails on the Mosses including the Mosses Trail; The Viewfinder Trail; 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.

Birdwatching on 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 2022, Shropshire Wildlife Trust installed an accessible bird hide here as a quiet site to watch the birds on Sinker’s Fields in any weather.

Charles Sinker Fields Bird Hide

Charles Sinker Fields Bird Hide

Spoonbill at Sinker’s Fields Credit: Stephen Barlow

The Mammoth Tower

Just a short walk down the Llangollen Canal towpath from Morris’ Bridge car park, stands the 5m high Mammoth Tower. From here you can see brilliant views over the expanse of the 2,500 acre Mosses. There are interpretation boards here that help visitors to understand the creation, near-destruction and regeneration of the Mosses, as well as the importance of peat.

Mammoth Tower

Mammoth Tower and platform Credit: Paul Harris

Viewfinders on the Green Trail

In 2022, several viewfinder stations were positioned along the Green Walking Trail. Through these you can learn more about development of the Mosses and its rare wildlife, as well as restoration work.

Viewfinder Trail Scrapyard

Viewfinder Trail Scrapyard

Visiting the Marches 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 Marches Mosses.

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