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Having explored the blanket bogs of Scotland and Northern England in previous years, the chance to visit the lowland raised bogs of the West Midlands, a stones throw away from the Welsh border and yet more glorious blanket bog, was an attractive choice.
Peatland work has been gaining momentum in the region, with Shropshire Wildlife Trust-led Meres and Mosses Landscape Partnership Scheme and Nature Improvement Area restoring partner-owned peatlands and advising landowners in the area on restoration works. Whilst, over in Wales, RSPB Lake Vyrnwy has seen large-scale restoration work on its blanket bog, through the delivery of a LIFE project in recent years. Also close-by, the impressive Fenn's & Whixall Mosses NNR (photo on right), managed by Natural England and Natural Resources Wales, showcases the damage caused by industrial peat cutting and how it can be restored. These sites not only show us what can be achieved, but bring up questions about work still required and how this can be realised, whether there be issues of funding, working with the local community or better understanding the science - fitting perfectly into the work of our conference.
The Shropshire Conference Centre on the outskirts of Shrewsbury combines friendly service with great facilities, meaning that all delegates should be able to enjoy a stress-free and productive conference.
In the grounds of the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital, the Centre is best accessed (if coming from Shrewsbury) off the B4386, taking the last exit off the roundabout and following the road through the hospital grounds to the end.
For a map and directions see here or download the PDF below.
The Conference Dinner and all accomodation (provided as part of the all inclusive ticket) will be located in central Shrewsbury, described by the Tourist Board as "one of England's finest medieval towns". With an easily accessible train station (regular services from Birmingham and Manchester), and plenty of restaurants, pubs and cafes, the town should provide a good base for delegates to get to know one another outside of the conference programme.
Whilst there is limited spare time in the programme, there are plenty of hotel and B&B's in Shrewsbury should anyone want to extend their stay. We are happy to provide suggestions and contact details should this be useful*.