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Photo Credit: Erik Paterson

Field Trip Options

On Day Two of the 2016 Conference, delegates will have the opportunity to visit a local peatland site, to learn more about its ecology and management. 

Please see below for a description of the different options:

  1. Cholmondley Estate, Cheshire
  2. Fenn's, Whixall & Bettisfield Mosses NNR, Shropshire and Wrexham
  3. Lake Vyrnwy, Powys
  4. Wybunbury Moss NNR, Cheshire


Option A: Cholmondeley Estate

The Cholmondeley Estate is a traditional tenanted agricultural estate located in south Cheshire. However, within its 3000 hectares are located a series of important Meres and Mosses sites. The proposed site visit will take in the following location of interest:

Chapel Mere - Credit Matt JonesChapel Mere SSSI & Ramsar site 

This is a typical mere with open water surrounded by marginal reedbed and woodland habitats. In recent years wetland creation has been undertaken upstream of the site, intended to try and improve the quality of water entering the mere, while plans are currently being developed to enhance surrounding areas of habitat to improve the 'ecological functioning' of the site.

Guide: Meres and Mosses team, Shropshire Wildlife Trust

Travel time: Approx. 45 minutes

Capacity: 30


Option B: Fenn's, Whixall & Bettisfield Mosses National Nature Reserve

Fenns and Whixall Mosses - Credit Joanna Richards

Straddling the English/Welsh border near Whitchurch, Fenn's, Whixall & Bettisfield Mosses NNR is a remarkable wilderness. It is not only a Site of Special Scientific Interest, but a European Special Area of Conservation and a Wetlands of International Importance. At nearly 1,000 hectares, the Mosses are the third largest and one of the most southerly lowland raised bogs in Britain.

Managed by Natural England, the site is at the start of an EU LIFE funded project, which will see large-scale restoration works.

Guide: Natural England

Travel time: Approx. 1 hour 

Capacity: 50


Option C: Lake Vyrnwy

Lake Vyrnwy

*Please note this trip is now fully booked*

Much of the Lake Vyrnwy’s catchment land is currently owned by Severn Trent Water, with RSPB taking responsibility of the reserves management. Lake Vyrnwy has a rich environmental and cultural heritage, a celebrated tourist experience and a passionate local community. It boasts the largest Organic farm in England and Wales. It lies within the Berwyn Special Area of Conservation (SAC) and over 30% of this SAC is designated as blanket bog which makes it the most extensive tract of near-natural blanket bog in the whole of Wales. The Welsh moorlands are a significant part of our cultural heritage. This continues today as the uplands are, primarily, used for agriculture, especially grazing sheep. They are important as water catchments for the supply of drinking water and play an important role in the context of climate change as stores of large amounts of carbon.

The LIFE Active Blanket Bog in Wales Project (LIFE06 NAT/UK/000134) ran for five years to improve the condition of the blanket bog in this and a neighbouring SAC. This was largely achieved through blocking drains and re-wetting land (485 km of drains, re-wetting 7,200 ha) that the project partners either owned or managed. The project was particularly effective in reaching out into the local community, stimulating interest and significantly increasing the understanding of blanket bog amongst local people. Monitoring work done through the project added to the evidence base for many environmental services. This land is now in the process of establishing a more natural water table, allowing native plant species to thrive. In turn, the benefits that this work will have on water quality, carbon storage and capture, and the wider upland environment in the future may be vast.

Guide: RSPB

Travel time: Approx. 1 hour 15 minutes

Capacity: 45


Option D: Wybunbury Moss National Nature Reserve

Wybunbury Moss - Credit Adam Dempsey

At first glance, Wybunbury Moss appears to be a typical moss in which layers of peat have gradually accumulated in a glacial hollow. However, on this site the formation of the basin is intriguing because the peat forms a raft which floats on a water-filled basin measuring over 12 metres deep. In some places the peat raft is only one metre thick. Only three such 'subsidence mires' are known to exist in the British Isles, although others occur in Northern Europe where they are known as 'Schwingmoors'.

Like many peat bodies in the UK, Wybunbury Moss has suffered from past attempts to drain it, resulting in drying of the peat and encroachment of trees. Management has been focused on removing the invading pine woodland to restore the site to an actively-growing peat bog.

Guide: Natural England

Travel time: Approx. 1 hour 15 minutes

Capacity: 20