Cheshire Wildlife Trust: 01948 820728
Abbots Moss Nature Reserve comprises part of a complex of basin mires surrounded by associated wet and dry heathland and woodland. The mires support several species of sphagnum moss, sundew, cotton grass and cranberry.
The reserve lies within Delamere Forest to the east of the A49 and to the south of the Whitegate Way, comprising two bogs, Shemmy Moss and South Moss. The reserve occupies 12 acres (4.8ha), 3 acres (1.2ha) of which is heathland.
Due to the treacherous and delicate nature of the habitat access to the moss itself is restricted. Permits are required, obtainable from Cheshire Wildlife Trust; these are only issued to people undertaking bonafide research projects. Visits by groups of Trust members and others can be arranged, to be led by experienced guides. Otherwise the moss can be viewed from the forest track.
It is assumed that the bog basins were formed after the last glaciation, initially forming two shallow lakes which developed into a 'schwingmoor' or floating bog. Pollen analysis of the deepest peat layers from borings indicate a starting date approximately 7000 BC.
The surrounding land mainly features coniferous woodland for a considerable period prior to 1946. After 1946 this was felled and replanted with Scots pine and Corsican pine in 1961.
The green hairstreak butterfly can frequently be seen here and also the rare white-faced darter dragonfly. Woodcock, tree pipit and redstart are found here, whilst crossbills and sparrowhawks are occasionally seen.
Photo © David Kitching [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons