Langlands Moss LNR

Introduction

Langlands Moss is a lowland raised peat bog situated on the southern fringe of the "new town" of East Kilbride, South Lanarkshire. In 1994/5 the importance of Langlands Moss was recognised by East Kilbride District Council, East Kilbride Development Corporation and Scottish Natural Heritage and it was decided to restore 20 hectares of the bog, improve public access and safeguard the site`s long term future against industrial development.. As part of the restoration, dams were installed to block drains and raise the water level. A commercial conifer plantation was felled (using a helicopter to remove the trees) and a boardwalk was built across the bog to allow public access. It was designated as a Local Nature Reserve and formally established in 1996. Unfortunately no maintenance budget was allocated towards the LNR resulting in it not receiving as much attention as it needed. This meant that general monitoring of the site, the hydrological and biodiversity aspects, as well as undertaking practical work and supervising work parties wasn`t undertaken as often as desired plus vandalism and fires caused by local anti social groups added to the Council Staff`s difficulties.

The Friends of Langlands Moss (FOLM) recognising the need for greater support to protect the site was formally constituted in September 2006 under the convenorship of Richard Naismith to work with South Lanarkshire Council Countryside, Access and Greenspace (SLC CAG) to improve the general condition of the bog. Their aim is to improve and conserve Langlands Moss Local Nature Reserve for the benefit of all.

Description

As part of the original restoration, a commercial conifer plantation on the peat was felled (using a helicopter to remove the trees), and dams were installed to block drains and raise the water level. In addition, a boardwalk was built across the bog to allow public access. Since the designation of Local Nature Reserve status, many of the original drainage dams had become damaged through fire, vandalism and weather. This meant that the bog was slowly drying out. The first task FOLM set themselves was to begin a new damming programme on the Moss. Finance was obtained from The Big Lottery Fund and Scottish National Heritage to purchase the necessary damming material. Initially volunteers installed 28 dams in the main ditch which runs across Langlands Moss. This work resulted in a marked improvement in water levels and Sphagnum mosses, and other bog plants re-colonising the new pools of standing water.

Project Aims

As shown in one of the pictures, the access paths had become very overgrown and waterlogged making access even in the driest, warmest weather difficult. FOLM realising that the site was close enough to Whitelee Wind Farm to obtain funding applied to the SLC Rural Trust for funding to improve the paths. They were awarded the amount and the paths were built and laid by SC Community Payback Scheme which was in its infancy. Mr Kenny Macaskill, the former Justice Minister for Scotland came out to inspect the work which had been carried out as part of this new scheme.

Restoration Delivered

When the Scottish Government set up the Peatland Action Plan, a group was formed under the auspices of Butterfly Conservation. It was mainly voluntary and was launched at Langlands Moss by Aileen Campbell, local MSP and Environment minister at that time. Since the formation of the Bog Squad there have been numerous working party days at Langlands Moss and about 80/90 dams have been restored in various parts of the bog. The bog depth was measured and was found to be 8.5 metres deep at the dome. Around the buffer area of the bog, a wildflower meadow has been created and in 2016 Froglife's - Living Waters Project created three new ponds, resulting in a mosaic of open water and marshy habitats. A feasibility study in 2018 was carried out on the Sitka Spruce plantation adjacent to the bog and revealed sections of peat measuring up to 9 metres deep. In 2020 in partnership with South Lanarkshire Council's Countryside and Greenspace Team (CAG) and Green Action Trust, 20.5ha of over mature conifer trees were removed. In addition 21 dams and 5 large bunds were installed in the hope that this will improve the hydrology of the peatland, increase the lagg vegetation zone and improve the natural ecotones found within the reserve. CAG are working on a new five year management plan for the reserve and this will also include the 47ha extension approved by SLC Planning Committee in 2021.

Site Activity

The Friends of Langlands Moss continue to carry out the essential work needed to protect and conserve this lowland raised bog. Currently applying to various funding streams, their next task is to replace the existing boardwalk, which is deteriorating rapidly due to weather conditions. Once installed, a new boardwalk will greatly improve access for visitors to enjoy the Moss and enable the bog conservation programme to continue. The long-term plan for Langlands Moss includes monitoring and managing the development of the lagg vegetation, regenerate a mosaic of wetland and wet woodland habitats within the felled woodland area, reinstate the access network throughout the reserve and to continue with the ongoing activities to raise public awareness about the importance of peatlands.

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Project Name: Langlands Moss LNR

Organisation / Lead partner: Friends of Langlands Moss

Location: East Kilbride, Glasgow

Approximate area covered: 20 ha

Conservation Status: Local Nature Reserve

Predominately: Lowland

Peat Habitats: Lowland raised bog

Project Type: Restoration, Management

Year Project Began: 1994

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