Saturday 9th November 2019: Conservation – Danes Moss

Despite a very cold start, Macclesfield RSPB Wildlife Explorers assembled a group of enthusiastic family volunteers for a morning of conservation work at Cheshire Wildlife Trust’s reserve Danes Moss. The reserve, near Macclesfield, is Cheshire’s largest and highest lowland raised bog – one of the scarcest and most threatened habitats in Britain and a really important habitat for carbon-capture, which is vital in the fight against climate change.

Recent work by contractors has cleared areas of the site of tree saplings, however, much of the brash has been left in situ. If this material was allowed to rot down it would create a nutrient –rich substrate unsuitable for the characteristic plants and mosses of the bog to survive. The task for the day was therefore to collect the brash and burn it.

Working on a bog presents several difficulties, not least the possibility of sinking in! Explorers found safe, dry-ish tracks to traverse the bog using bunds of earth have that have been created to maintain the water levels and provide ideal conditions for the sphagnum mosses to thrive.
Danes Moss provides an important habitat for a wide range of wildlife. As well as plant species like cotton grass and cross-leaved heath and at least six species of sphagnum moss, the site also boasts 19 species of butterfly, 11 species of dragonfly and damselfly and a healthy population of common lizards.

As with all of our work parties at this site it was both extremely popular with participants of all ages and successful in terms of supporting the restoration work on the reserve. The team find it extremely rewarding to work with like-minded partner organisations like Cheshire Wildlife Trust to make a difference for our local wildlife. (They also really enjoyed the treat of toasting marshmallows at the close of the session!).

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