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Pond on Campfield Marsh

Raised Mires

Lowland Raised Mires have evolved over thousands of years into a dome of peat covered in pools and plant life. They are vary acidic and low in nutrient and are fed via rainwater falling onto their surface. The dome of peat grows through the action of three species of sphagnum moss. The mosses colonise small pools and fill them with moss. A second species then comes in because it favours slightly drier conditions - this is followed by a third species that prefers even drier conditions. As the mosses rise above the level of the dome new ponds are created and so the process continues.

Some of the Solway mires are over three metres high. Many specialist plants such as the sundew, which feeds on insects, occur on the dome. In the drier areas heather blankets the ground and brings a beautiful purple hue in August and September.

The lowland raised mires of the Solway are extremely rare habitats and are being restored by Cumbria Wildlife Trust, English Nature, RSPB and the Solway Coast AONB Partnership.

This restoration concerns water management. Following the 'improvement' of land through drainage for farming, much of the land supporting raised mires has dried out. But by careful water management they are coming back to life.

All of the Solway Raised Mires are designated as Sites of Special Scientific Interest and some are National Nature Reserves.

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