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Brown Moss

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.

Brown Moss is a SSSI (click here to see the reasons for notification).

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

Brown Moss

1.  A mere with open water.

This would have been formed during the last Ice Age
geomorphology section).

Mere at Ellesmere

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.

The Mosses and Meres – GEOMORPHOLOGY

As you travel south from Brown Moss you will see north Shropshire is full of interesting geomorphological features produced largely through the effects of various ice ages over the last few thousand 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 morrains and form linear features through an otherwise flat landscape.

The Mosses and Meres – INDUSTRY

The main industry of the Mosses area is peat cutting and extraction.  Like in Ireland the peat has been cut for centuries for fuel.  Now it is being cut for use by gardeners. The other industry of the area is tourism.


A grown over hand cut peat exposure.

Pear cutting

A more extensive area of peat extraction.