Work on Wem Moss completed

Wem Moss is arguably the best example of lowland raised peat bog remaining in Shropshire, having never been used as a site for peat cutting unlike neighbouring Fenn's, Whixall and Bettisfield Mosses. Despite the lack of cutting on Wem Moss, over the years the site has been affected by local land drainage and has slowly become too dry for many of the specialist species that depend on its depleting habitat. 

In order to reverse this process, work has taken place throughout August to block more drains from the moss and to install plastic piling which prevent further water run off. By the completion of the works, which has been carried out by Middlemarch Environmental, water was already starting to collect on the moss side of the pilings, creating a wet habitat suitable for the rare raft spider.

In all, 340m of extra piling has been added to the existing system which was installed a number of years ago and has proved to be insufficient to hold back the necessary levels of water on the moss. During the work, a number of ancient tree stumps were uncovered during the process of pushing the pilings into the soft peat and these all required removal to allow the installation to be completed. It is thought that the stumps could be aged between 5000 and 8000 years and have been preserved in the acidic grounds of the moss. 

In addition to the piling placement, the access track onto Wem Moss has also been improved to not only allow easier vehicular access to the site, but also foot access for visitors to Wem Moss. The next step in the work programme will be to install new dip wells around the moss later in September. Dip wells are plastic tubes used to gauge the water level below ground and will help to indicate the progress being made to retain water on the moss. It is anticipated that as the site becomes wetter, many of the plant and wildlife species associated with lowland peat bogs will become more prolific and Wem Moss will return to its former glory.

 


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Did you know?

The area of Fenn's, Whixall and Bettisfield Mosses combined is the third largest area of raised peat bog in Britain. On average, 1 hectare of peatland can store 10 times more carbon than 1 hectare of woodland


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