Wildlife at Danes Moss

The proposed development site on Danes Moss is very biodiverse and is home and habitat to some extremely rare and endangered creatures, over 40 species of birds as well as…

  • Willow Tit one of the most endangered birds in the UK
  • Dingy Skipper butterfly the only known colony in Cheshire East
  • Small Heath butterfly protected by law but destined for local extinction if the development goes ahead
  • Common toad a priority protected species 
  • three species of bats
Despite all the evidence of this site being an irreplaceable haven for wildlife there has been…
  • no detailed invertebrate survey
  • no detailed bird survey 
  • no hedgehog survey

Why is Danes Moss such a wildlife haven?

The proposed development site is a relic lowland raised bog – a very biodiverse type of habitat.  Use the tabs above to see the different creatures and plants that live here. 

 Anyone can add observations into the online record system, inaturalist which will show here and in the link to the bioblitz project below. Clear photos are best and multiple shots of the same observation also help, e.g. pictures of the flowers and leaves of a plant.

Map showing peatlands in Cheshire East. Yellow = raised bog

What is a relic lowland raised bog?

This is the type of habitat that covers nearly all of the proposed development site. Let’s break down that term.

RELIC – because the site is no longer an actively growing bog with peat getting deeper each year.

LOWLAND – because it is situated in the lowlands not, for example, in the Pennines where peatlands also exist.

RAISED BOG – this is the type of bog that used to exist here. The peat held so much water that it rose above the surrounding landscape, which is why it was described as ‘raised.’

Why this is important

All wildlife habitats are valuable but some are rarer than others, some are home to more life than other and some are irreplaceable. Danes Moss is all three of these things.

Rare

94% of lowland raised bogs in the UK have been lost in the past 100 years – from 95,000 hectares to 6000 hectares. Only 500 hectares remain in England. The 55 hectare development site could also be counted as part of this 94% decline. However, this is not the end of the story…

Very Biodiverse

As you will see, all of Danes Moss is very biodiverse. The proposed development site is no exception and hosts over 40 species of birds, as well as the most endangered bird in the country – the willow tit. Rare insects, mammals and reptiles also live on site and nearby.

Irreplaceable

A raised bog takes thousands of years to form. Peat grows at about 1mm per year. Danes Moss is older than our present Western Civilisation. 

 

But only a relic?

Wrong! Even though the proposed development site on Danes Moss is in a degraded state it can almost certainly be restored to an ‘active’  raised bog. In fact, this is precisely what has been achieved on the neighbouring Danes Moss Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI). When the Wildlife Trust first began restoring Danes Moss in the 1970s the bog was so degraded that fires regularly broke out on the Moss. Additionally, Cheshire East Council hold a document which states that the development site could be restored to active bog – but as you would expect that document only advocates restoring a small part of the site. Nevertheless, it is clear that the development site could be restored which puts it into the class of…

Habitat of International Importance

‘Degraded raised bogs still capable of natural regeneration’ are habitats of international importance according to the Interpretation Manual of European Habitats. Habitats such as these cannot legally be destroyed except in ‘wholly exceptional circumstances.’ They are protected by The Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations 2017.
 
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