Flanders Moss – a short walk, a long story… and one of Scotland’s great trails.

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Flanders Moss NNR

The path at Flanders Moss is probably one of the best short walks in Scotland, truly a great trail if only a short one. I know that I am a bit biased but for a walk that is only 800m long it creates a great experience and takes people a long time to walk round. When a few years back we did a visitor survey we found that the average time people spent on the path was just under an hour.

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Watching people go around the path and you can see why they go so slowly. They tend to make it out into the open bog at a normal speed but then slow right up as they take in the wide, wild landscape that is so different from what they have drive through to get there.  Then they start to look down and take in the billowing cotton grass, sparkling sundews, the sphagnum tapestry and whatever wildlife is meandering across the boardwalk. Then there is the obligatory stop at the bridge to look into the watery depths of the ditch. And 10 minutes spent sitting on one of the 3 benches (or all 3 if they are getting really addicted) to really let the senses loose.

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The wildlife is only part of the story. Boards tell them about some of the many stories that go with Flanders Moss, the peat cutting, the fluctuating extent of ice age glaciers and the rising and falling on the seas. But those are only a few of the stories and there isn’t room to cover the tsunami, the whale skeletons, a bronze age situla (one of Britain’s oldest buckets), buried swords, islands of peat, Victorian vicars planting North America plants, Rob Roy and many others. To find out about these you will have to read this blog.

So maybe it is time for you to take the short walk on the bog?

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