Bread and butter work on the bog

Flanders Moss NNR

A thick jungle of rushes.

Some of our work on the bog is not that exotic and dramatic and a bit more bread and butter but just as important.

At the West Moss-side farm part of Flanders we have built structures to hold water the that leaks out of the peat bog onto the edge so recreating the natural lagg fen feature. This is a mixture of shallow peat and mineral ground that is often, by design, water logged but we still want to get it grazed. The grazing of cattle helps to break up the thatch of old vegetation, making it better for different water plants and also for breeding waders.

But recent summers have been so wet that we haven’t been able to get cattle or machinery anywhere near to the site. This year is different. The dry spell and baking (for us anyway) sun has left the lagg fen drier than for a long time.

So we took advantage of getting machinery in to top the rank rushes that had become too thick to allow the cattle in, or anything else. And we also took advantage to get contractors in to renew a very old and collapsing fence along the fen edge.

New fence, cut rushes.

West Moss-side’s special rare breed Shetland cattle (see here) immediately took advantage of the cleared site and were straight in there munching with the new fence hindering any thoughts of wandering out onto the moss. And we hope that next Spring we might see snipe or redshank taking advantage of the more open area. Another farming / nature reserve partnership success.

The West Moss-side farm Shetland cattle herd.
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