Machines on the moss – turning purple to green

P1080144Flanders Moss NNR

Those who are regular visitors might have wondered what those 2 big diggers have been doing on the moss the last week.

Well, the area next to the boardwalk and tower is one of the driest parts of the moss. This is due to historic peat cutting that removal a large chunk of the moss and also ditching on the moss surface. This past damage increases the flow of water off the moss so drying it out, leaving it with a lower water table than most other areas of the bog. From the tower you can see the evidence of this in that there is lots of drier ground loving heather (dark purple) and not as much wet loving sphagnum and cotton grass.

We have already blocked the old ditches but this hasn’t brought about a full recovery so we have turned to the big diggers and deep trench bunding. Sounding a bit like a dramatic medical procedure this actually involves the building of a wall of wet, impermeable peat under the surface around the edge of the moss. This stops water leaking out under the surface through cracks in the peat. A small raised bund is also built to slow the loss of surface water. It is going to be interesting to see if this works and the proof will be if the vegetation in front of the tower turns from purple to green. So watch that space!

All this digger work is funded by the EcoCoLIFE project which is all about connecting up habitats for maximum wildlife and people’s benefit. For more info on the project see



It takes a special machine weighing 11 tons to travel over very wet bog and only flatten the vegetation!


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