Marches Mosses BogLIFE - Marches Mosses Raised Bog Restoration Project

LIFE15 NAT/UK/000786

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Contact details:

Contact person: Robert DUFF
Tel: 442080261259
Email: robert.duff@naturalengland.org.uk

Project description:


At 950 ha, the Natura 2000 network site, ‘Fenn’s, Whixall, Bettisfield, Wem and Cadney Mosses’, is Britain’s third largest lowland raised bog. Some 71% of the site is active raised bog, a priority habitat type listed in the Habitats Directive, and 25% is degraded raised bog. Much of the site is also classified as a national nature reserve.

Drained to enable peat cutting, agricultural improvement and afforestation, the centre of the site was rescued from near-destruction in 1990 owing to commercial peat cutting. Through continued ‘first-fix’ restoration, this part now is starting to see active peat formation. However, the site still faces problems including evapo-transpiration, water/air pollution and unsympathetic land management by other land owners.


The overall aim of Marches Mosses Bog LIFE is to restore active raised bog habitat and convert part of the degraded raised bog habitat, in order to progress the Natura 2000 site towards favourable conservation status. This aim is consistent with the prioritised action frameworks (PAFs) for England and Wales, which identify bogs as a priority ecosystem. Although the UK does not have a formalised bog restoration strategy, this project feeds into Natural England’s highest priority for lowland bog restoration, and also contributes to other national targets, such as its prioritised improvement plans and site improvement plans along with the delivery of England’s biodiversity strategy.

The specific project objective is to restore 665 ha of habitat to achieve a more sustainable, resilient and better functioning active raised bog, including restoration of the lagg zone. This includes the restoration of 575 ha of raised bogs and 67 ha of degraded bogs in the site and an additional 23 ha of important, undesignated land adjacent to the site.

Expected results:

  • Restoration of 665 ha;
  • Acquisition of degraded raised bog in unfavourable condition and peat cutting licences;
  • Removal of 107 ha conifer plantations and woodland;
  • Improvement of the bog’s water quantity and quality through new water control structures, contour-bunding, dam adjustment, reduced evapo-transpiration and diverting polluted water;
  • Speeded up active bog processes, improved condition of contaminated land and reduced impact of air pollution by surface treatments (e.g. turfing, reseeding, scraping, mowing and containment);
  • Removal of invasive alien species including common rhododendron (Rhododendron ponticum);
  • Monitoring of recovery and dissemination of best practice guidance on restoration techniques to managers of similar habitats across Europe;
  • Establishment of a volunteer and training centre of excellence; and
  • Raised awareness of the Natura 2000 network site.



Environmental issues addressed:


Habitats - Bogs and Mires


environmental education‚  monitoring‚  nature reserve‚  voluntary work‚  restoration measure

Target EU Legislation

  • Nature protection and Biodiversity
  • Directive 92/43 - Conservation of natural habitats and of wild fauna and flora- Habitats Directiv ...

Target Habitat types

  • 7110 - Active raised bogs
  • 7120 - Degraded raised bogs still capable of natural regeneration

Natura 2000 sites

SCI UK0012912 Fenn`s, Whixall, Bettisfield, Wem and Cadney Mosses



Coordinator Natural England
Type of organisation Public enterprise
Description Natural England is an independent public body, established in 2006, to provide science-based advice to the UK government concerning its natural environment. It is responsible for selecting and designating UK protected areas of conservation, known as sites of special scientific interest (SSSIs). It also advises on the designation of special protection areas (SPAs) and special areas of conservation (SACs). Natural England manages 143 of the 224 national nature reserves in England. This covers around 66 000 ha of some of the most internationally important and richest sites for wildlife and geology.
Partners Natural Resources Body for Wales, United Kingdom Shropshire Wildlife Trust, United Kingdom


Project reference LIFE15 NAT/UK/000786
Duration 01-OCT-2016 to 02-JAN -2022
Total budget 7,141,352.00 €
EU contribution 5,356,014.00 €
Project location West Midlands(United Kingdom)


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Project description   Environmental issues   Beneficiaries   Administrative data   Read more   Print   PDF version