WARRINGTON Nature Conservation Forum members were treated to a fascinating talk by Dr Paul Thomas at their autumn meeting about peat bogs and the natural history of the area.
After the formal meeting closed Paul a renowned ‘Peat Bog Expert’ took them on a two-hour tour of the moss.
He showed them where it had been necessary to construct a system of bunds to contain the water and pointed out examples of controls that have been used or altered to help restore the hydrological integrity of the wetland i.e. at the right water level.
Such actions have proved very successful and resulted in the re-establishment of Sphagum and cotton grass over large areas of the moss all the conditions needed for bog growth.
Risley Moss is one of the last remaining fragments of the raised bog system that once covered large areas of South Lancashire and North Cheshire.
Dr Thomas works for Natural England who in partnership with Warrington Borough Council has championed the ‘Mini Moss Restoration Project’ that aims to restore the moss that was damaged by drainage.
Forum Chairman, Geoff Settle, thanked Paul on behalf of members. He said ‘I have always wanted to see what was out beyond the bird hides but I haven’t dared to go beyond the KEEP OUT deepwater signs.
“ I feel privileged to have been shown around the mini moss by Paul. Not only do I now know what is beyond the sign but also I have seen many interesting plants and creatures for the first time including an adder and slowworm.
People just don’t realise how much there is to see in Warrington.”
The Forum welcome suggestions for future talks.Please contact secretary Helen Lacy at hlacy@warrington.gov.uk with suggestions.

Pictures show construction work as plastic piling is keyed into the bank and members listening to Paul and looking around at the early signs of development.