Blawhorn Moss NNR
Mosses have edges and these edges can be very interesting places. Where the edge of the domes of soft peat meets the rocky mineral soils water flows out of the peat creating a wet, boggy area. In some bogs this has had a big ditch dug to prevent the out flowing water affecting the neighbouring farmland but in other places it is left to form a natural fen area. These marsh edges are important to the bog itself by offering a wet stopper to water flowing off the moss but they are a lovely habitat in themselves. Different from the bog itself they are very wet but have the additional plant food you get from normal mineral soils. So you get different plants to the bog itself mixed in with bog plants. It gives these fens (the technical term is lag fen) a different feel, colourful, splashy, a patchwork mosiac of variety. These are a place for heath spotted orchids, the beautiful marsh cinquefoil, rich reds of sorrels and spikey rushes and sedges. And different plants mean different creatures. At Blawhorn these are the places to find the small heath butterfly, nectaring on the flowers on the fen and the drier grassland next to it. When a bog edge is wet, the bog edge is not the end but a transition.