Black Bog revisited

We’ll be putting up temporary electric fencing behind the HQ of Cats Protection soon. This is so we can get some livestock onto the area – affectionately known, to staff at least, as Black Bog – over the summer.

Black Bog is, as the name suggests, a gloriously soggy corner of the Forest, full of tussocks of Purple Moor-grass interspersed with Sphagnum moss. Scattered small ponds support damselflies and other delights. So why graze it?


Sphagnum moss


Unfortunately, in the absence of management, scrub has started to invade. Birch, Scots pine and the dreaded rhododendron are creeping in, and they will draw moisture out of the soil, drying the site out. We have already dealt with the rhododendron (see Tom’s post), so now it is time to tackle some of the other problems.

The grazing animal of choice for this area is the Galloway cow. The big, lumbering beasts will break up the overgrown tussocks of Moor-grass and prevent the regrowth of scrub, providing gaps for the native mire species to colonise.

Birch and Scots pine soon take over

Birch and Scots pine soon take over

Inevitably, whenever we fence an area of the Forest we upset someone. We’re bound to get in the way of somebody’s favourite walk or view, but we ask you to bear with us. It’s only temporary, so spare a thought for the damselflies. They’re going to love what we’ve done to the place.

Steve Alton