Astley and Bedford Moss

Description

Astley and Bedford Mosses are situated 14 km west of the centre of Manchester and 4 km south-east of Leigh. The site lies adjacent to the Liverpool to Manchester railway and is bordered on the other sides by agricultural land. It represents one of the largest remaining fragments of Chat Moss, a lowland raised mire some 25 square kilometres in extent, developed over tills and late-glacial flood gravels overlying Triassic sandstones of the Sherwood Sandstones Group.

Most of the original extent of Chat Moss has been drained and reclaimed for agriculture or cut over for peat such that Astley and Bedford Mosses, although also subject in the past to some of these impacts, are higher than the surrounding countryside and still retain a considerable depth of peat.

Biodiversity

The major habitats present are modified mire communities, heathland, woodland and acidic grassland, all developed over the cut peat surface and subject to variations of wetness according to the residual topography or drainage patterns. Existing areas of mire are dominated by common cottongrass Eriophorum angustifolium and hare’s-tail cottongrass E. vaginatum with occasional deergrass Trichophorum cespitosum. Bog mosses are scarce but Sphagnum cuspidatum, S. recurvum, S. tenellum, S. fimbriatum and S. subnitens occur in patches in the cottongrass, between tussocks of purple moor-grass Molinia caerulea or in and alongside some of the ditches.

As the peat becomes increasingly drier, the mire community is replaced by a monospecific sward of purple moor grass in which very few other species are present. Downy birch Betula pubescens also begins to establish with the result that a large proportion of the site exists as a mixture of these two species. This community varies in density from a closed birch woodland to a ‘savannah’-like grassland with occasional trees. Heather Calluna vulgaris, although scattered throughout, also dominates one are a of heathland at the north eastern edge of the site, where cranberry Vaccinium oxycoccus also occurs.

The site is important for birds, in particular wintering raptors such as hen harrier (Circus cyaneus), short-eared owl (Asio flammeus) and merlin (Falco columbarius), and it supports breeding species such as curlew (Numenius arquata) and long-eared owl (Asio otus). Nightjars (Caprimulgus europaeus), precariously confined to the remnant lowland mosslands in the county, may also breed.

{"zoom":12,"lat":53.4793905,"lon":-2.4700635,"markers":{"0":{"lat":53.4793905,"lon":-2.4700635}}}

Project Name: Astley and Bedford Moss

Organisation / Lead partner: Natural England

Location: Astley, near Manchester

Approximate area covered: 52 ha

Conservation Status: Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI), Special Area of Conservation (SAC), Local Wildlife Site

Predominately: Lowland

Peat Habitats: Lowland raised bog

Project Type: Management

Green Recovery Challenge Fund
Applications open for second round of Green Recovery Challenge FundThis £40million fund will once again support projects across England to restore nature, tackle…
Peatland Code logo
IHS Markit to Launch Global Carbon Credit Meta-RegistryThe first global meta-registry aims to provide transparency and efficient tracking, accounting and…
Nature Recovery Plan
Nature’s recovery can create 7,000 new jobs in ScotlandNew research from leading Scottish environment charities shows that backing their plan for nature’s…
The Extraordinary Story of Peat and Carbon
New short animation explores the extraordinary story of peat and carbonExploring the extraordinary quantities of carbon locked up on millennial timescales within peatland…
February newsletter: winter edition
IUCN UK Peatland Programme Newsletter: Winter Edition 2021Read the latest IUCN UK Peatland Programme newsletter.
The West Cavan Bog Association Site
Eyes on the Bog: The West Cavan Bog Association SitesTwo new Eyes on the Bog sites have been established by the West Cavan Bog Association, in Fartrin…
IUCN UK PP Conference
Reflections from the 10th IUCN UK Peatland Programme ConferenceThe 10th annual IUCN UK Peatland Programme conference was delivered online for the first time, with…
UK GHG inventory
Peatland addition to the UK GHG inventory adds 3.5% to national emissionsThe end of January saw the long awaited, formal inclusion of peatlands in the UK GHG emissions…
Peatland Code update
Peatland Code updateInterest in the Peatland Code continues to grow and the team are experiencing increased demand for…
Shetland Peatland Restoration
Getting out to the bog in ShetlandAn innovative solution to accessing a Peatland Restoration site in Shetland.
Heather burn (C) North Peninnes AONB
Defra announce plans to prevent burning of vegetation on protected blanket bog habitats.Today’s announcement from Defra that the government plans to bring forward legislation to prevent…
Deforested bog 2 years post treatment
ScottishPower Renewables winter 2021 peatland restoration activityScottishPower Renewables (SPR) have completed 1267ha of deforested bog restoration using their “…