What is the Meres and Mosses?
The Meres and Mosses is an area covering most of north Shropshire, south Cheshire and parts of west Staffordshire. It is a landscape formed by glacial processes more than 10,000 years ago, creating a series of hollows in the rolling landscape that became filled with water from the retreating glacier. Where these hollows filled with deeper water, they remain as ‘meres’ (glacial lakes), whereas natural processes have allowed many of the shallower ones to fill in and form into peat bogs or ‘mosses’.
Why are the Meres and Mosses special for conservation?
The Meres and Mosses area contains the third largest lowland raised bog in Britain (Fenn’s, Whixall and Bettisfield Mosses). It has a higher concentration of field ponds than anywhere else in Europe and provides vital habitat for many specialist and threatened species such as the white-faced darter (a dragonfly), the small pearl-bordered fritillary butterfly and the raft spider (Britain’s biggest spider!) as well as a safe haven for more widespread but still vulnerable species such as the water vole and adder. The peat-based nature of much of the land also provides a vital carbon storage function (holding up to 20 times more carbon than the same area of woodland). The quality of water in the Meres & Mosses landscape is also vital to its future to support wildlife and for people to enjoy.