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Brown Moss

The geological trail across Shropshire begins in the north of the County, close to Whitchurch, with the youngest "rocks".

Brown Moss is a peat bog in North Shropshire. Although there is no hard rock exposed at most of these sites they are still classed as geological. It is just that the geology is very recent relative to many of the sites in the south or west of the county (thousands of years rather than millions of years).

The peat has formed from the decay of plants over the last 10,000 years or so, since the last Ice Age. The peat is what would become our future fossil fuel, as over time it would convert to coal. The mosses and meres are constantly evolving through natural processes but they are also being changed dramatically by the activities of man. It is now a haven for wildlife.


The natural evolution of the mosses and meres can be seen at various stages throughout North Shropshire. The succession runs like this:

1). A mere with open water. This would have been formed during the last Ice Age.

2). As sediment builds up in the bottom of the mere it begins to fill in from the edges and becomes much more swampy. Sometimes vegetation will spread over the water producing a bouncy bog known as 'swingemore'.

3). Eventually the swamp starts to dry out as larger shrubs and trees such as alder and birch become established.

The action of man can alter this succession as the removal of peat can create areas of clear water but at the same time it creates drainage channels so the surrounding areas are drained and dry out much quicker.


As you travel south from here, you will see that North Shropshire is full of other interesting geomorphological features produced largely through the effects of various ice ages over the last few hundreds of thousands of years.

The meres are what are known as 'Kettle Holes'.  These formed when detached blocks of ice were left behind by a retreating glacier. The lump of ice forms a depression surrounded by drift deposited by the melting glacier.  Eventually this block to will melt filling the depression with water.

The material left by the retreating glaciers also make features. These are eskers and moraines and form linear features through an otherwise flat landscape.



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This page arose from the Shaping of Shropshire joint project between Shropshire Wildlife Trust and Shropshire Geological Society, supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund.

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