Shropshire History

Shropshire Mosses


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The Mosses of North Shropshire are the second largest network of wetlands in the UK. A Moss is a raised peat bog and, where it has dried out to leave an acidic soil that supports shrubs, it is known as a Heath. Sometimes it is still damp and forms woodland.


The geology of the area consists of Permo-Triassic Sandstone overlain by glacial drift deposited during the last Ice Age. During that time, the retreating ice gouged out basins in the rock called kettle holes. These filled with rainwater and created the Meres present today. Over time, some of the Meres were filled in with vegetation which decomposed to create the peat in the Mosses. The complex of Bettisfield Moss, Fenn's Moss, Whixall Moss and Wem Moss is the third largest lowland raised peatbog in the UK. Peat was once commercially extracted here but this has now stopped and it is being restored by Natural England, Natural Resources Wales and Shropshire Wildlife Trust. The origin and extent of Mosses is described in North Shropshire Meres & Mosses by C A Sinker.


The area is looked after by an organisation known as the North East Special Landscape, consisting of a Landscape Partnership funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund and a Nature Improvement Area funded by DEFRA.


The area is very important for plants and animals, eg around 1,900 species of insect have been identified. Some of these are rare and the ones most likely to be seen are :-




  Sphagnum Moss






  Bog Bush Cricket


  Large Heath Butterfly


  Raft Spider - found at Fenn's, Wem and Whixall Mosses.


  Small Pearl-Bordered Fritillary


  White-Faced Darter Dragonfly










  Meadow Pipit








Gazetteer of Mosses


Bettisfield Moss, Dobson’s Bridge (SJ483351)


Bomere Moss, Bomere Heath (SJ464192)


Boreatton Moss, Baschurch (SJ416226)


Broomfield Moss, Forton Heath (SJ429181)


Brown Moss, Ash Magna (SJ562393)


Brownheath Moss, Brownheath (SJ460302)


Clarepool Moss, Welshampton (SJ433342)


Cranberry Moss, Knockin (SJ366209)


Harmer Moss, Harmer Hill (SJ484222)


Kinton Moss, Kinton (SJ369201)


Lyneal Moss, Hampton Bank (SJ448341)


Muckleton Moss, Longley (SJ597223)


Pikes End Moss, Colemere (SJ441318)


Pukin’s Moss, Shotatton (SJ371222)


Rednal Moss, Queen’s Head (SJ348273)


Ruyton Moss, Ruyton-XI-Towns (SJ384213)


The Moss, Queen’s Head (SJ331268)


The Moss, Grimpo (SJ360260)


The Moss, Kenwick (SJ440305)


Top Moss, Weston (SJ570269)


Wem Moss, Northwood (SJ474342)


Whattal Moss, Kenwick (SJ433309)


Whixall Moss, Dobson’s Bridge (SJ489358)



You can download trail leaflets for :-


Bettisfield Moss National Nature Reserve


Fenn’s & Whixall Mosses History Trail


Fenn’s, Whixall & Bettisfield Mosses National Nature Reserves


War Walks on the Home Front