Macclesfield RSPB Wildlife Explorers assembled a group of enthusiastic volunteers for a morning of conservation work at Danes Moss. This Cheshire Wildlife Trust reserve near Macclesfield is Cheshire’s largest and highest lowland raised bog, one of the scarcest and most threatened habitats in Britain. The open areas of the bog are covered with plants like cotton grass and cross-leaved heath and at least six species of sphagnum moss.
In recent years the Trust has undertaken work to expand the reserve and recently contractors have been busy working on site to help clear large tree saplings from the bog. Bunds of earth have also been created to maintain the water levels and provide ideal conditions for the associated distinctive flora and fauna. Wildlife Explorers, including family members of all ages, were tasked with the removal of smaller saplings (by pulling them out roots and all to prevent regrowth), clipping back brambles from the board walk , collecting and stacking brash in the woodland. Some members of the group had fun transplanting sphagnum to the new pools in order that they can then naturally repopulate with the mosses which are especially important as the remains of dead plants accumulate to form peat, the substrate of the bog.
Danes Moss provides an important habitat for a wide range of bird species. As part of the recent ‘Macclesfield Big Bird Box Build’ project Wildlife Explorers provided specialist nestboxes at the site for kestrel, treecreeper, redstart and red-listed willow tit. As well as an incredible 19 species of butterfly, 11 species of dragonfly and damselfly have been recorded at the reserve, including the black darter, our smallest dragonfly.
The work party was extremely successful with volunteers of all ages really enjoying contributing to important restoration work for the reserve. It is fantastic to work with partner organisations like Cheshire Wildlife Trust to meet a joint conservation aim.