Warrington-Worldwide.co.uk incorporates the Village Life, Culcheth Life, Frodsham Life & Lymm Life magazines.

Ancient mossland could help combat climate change


A 10,000-year-old bog at Warrington could have an important role to play in combating climate change, according to experts
Pestfurlong Moss at Gorse Covert Mounds is a rare fragment of 10,000 year old lowland raised peat bog, locally known as mossland.
It may not look much but it is remarkably diverse and acts like a sponge for soaking up harmful carbon. So much so that it – and others like it – are sometimes dubbed the “tropical rainforests of the UK”.
But they need nurturing. Pestfurlong Moss has been drained in the past, is drying out and is in desperate need of restoration. The Moss is owned by The Woodland Trust and managed with help from a local community volunteer group, ‘The Friends of Gorse Covert Mounds’.
Now they have got together the Carbon Landscape Partnership, led by Lancashire Wildlife Trust to try to9 restore the moss.
The project has secured £33,000 of funding from Enovert Landfill and the Heritage Lottery Fund to carry out work to re-wet the mossland, improve access and provide information for visitors to explain why the mossland is so important and working with the local community to offer conservation and wildlife training courses.
Woodland Trust site manager Neil Oxley said: “To many, a bog may not look much but these peatland areas are immensely important. Eighty per cent of UK peatlands have been degraded or lost due to drainage for agriculture, extraction or development.
“They are our equivalent to tropical rainforests, storing hundreds of thousands of tonnes of carbon a year, helping to reduce the risk of flooding by soaking up water during high periods of rainfall and are beautiful landscapes and valuable wildlife habitats in their own right. Re-wetting of peat bogs also greatly reduce the risks of fires, such as those that recently devastated Winter Hill near Bolton.”
Despite having been drained in the past, the moss has retained some of its rare and vital bog species, including four species of Sphagnum Moss, which are the main building block of peat.  Without management, the site will continue to dry out and be choked by unwanted and invasive species, resulting in irreversible changes to the peat itself.
The project will also involve planting new trees in adjoining areas to increase diversity further, such as willow to encourage willow tit.
The works, which will begin this month, are backed by the Government’s Local and National Biodiversity Action Plan (BAP) for habitats including Lowland Raised Peat Bog and Wet Woodland.
Tony Da Silva, Carbon Landscape restoration officer, said “The location of Pestfurlong Moss makes it extremely valuable for wildlife, linking larger nearby mosslands; Risley Moss to the West and Holcroft Moss to the east. By joining up these habitats the Carbon Landscape Partnership is creating ‘green motorways’ which are vital to a number of important and rare species including the willow tit, the UK’s fastest declining small bird, and water vole, Britain’s fastest declining mammal”.
A practical task day for volunteers to get involved is taking place on Saturday, starting at 10.00am from the car park on Gorse Covert Road, WA3 6SU. People should contact Nigel Balding on 07960 736203 to help.


About Author

1 Comment

  1. Dear Friends (of Gorse Covert Mounds),

    Our Action Day is now on SUNDAY not Saturday as advertised.

    As part of our risk assessments for activities we consider the weather and particularly wind speeds as they are important for safe working under trees. The forecast for Saturday is currently “strong” winds and rain so we have had to make a decision to move the date back one day to this Sunday (14th October) when the forecast is for dry conditions and more moderate wind.

    I’m really sorry to everyone who has been looking forward to Saturday and particularly if they can’t come on Sunday instead. However, if can come along now as the day has changed to Sunday then hurray 😊!

    We will be creating habitat piles (windrows) in the hawthorn wood, using branches from Plum Lane and then working to clear a ditch on Pestfurlong Moss afterwards. The ditch clearing is a really important job to do in advance of the restauration work planned to start later this month.


    Starting at 10am in the car park at the end of Falstone Close. Please wear working clothes and strong footwear. We have some working gloves but feel free to bring your own if you prefer and tools will be provided.

    If you can come all day please bring some food and drink, if you can only make it in the afternoon then that is fine, whatever time you can spare! All welcome, under 18s please bring an adult.

    Hope to see you there.

    Nigel Balding Mob 07960 736203

Leave A Comment