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Witherslack Mosses are a fragmented wetland west of the Kent estuary in Cumbria, England, within the Lake District National Park. They consist of three raised bogs, the remnants of a formerly extensive, estuarine bog, which are protected under the Habitats Directive as a Special Area of Conservation.[1]

Witherslack Mosses
IUCN category V (protected landscape/seascape)
Map showing the location of Witherslack Mosses
Map showing the location of Witherslack Mosses
Map of England
LocationCumbria, England
Coordinates54°14′10″N 2°50′22″W / 54.2362°N 2.8395°W / 54.2362; -2.8395Coordinates: 54°14′10″N 2°50′22″W / 54.2362°N 2.8395°W / 54.2362; -2.8395[1]
Area486 ha (1,200 acres)

The site was designated an SAC in 2005. The bogs were already individually protected as nature reserves in the care of Cumbria Wildlife Trust and, under UK legislation, as Sites of Special Scientific Interest.



All three bogs have retained some of the original dome structure, characteristic of raised bogs. However, each has been degraded by drainage and by peat-cutting around the edges. Restoration work has been carried out reversing afforestation and associated drainage work.[5]

Public accessEdit

Parking for Foulshaw Moss is just off the A590 (westbound).

Work to improve access to Foulshaw Moss

Raised water levels, as a result of bog restoration work, adversely affected public access to Meathop Moss and Foulshaw Moss around 2012, and the boardwalks had to be relaid.


The mosses are known for their invertebrates.[6] The restoration of the wetland has seen species returning, notably:


  1. ^ a b "Witherslack Mosses (Site UK0030302)". European Environment Agency. Retrieved January 25, 2013.
  2. ^ Foulshaw Moss, Cumbria Wildlife Trust. Retrieved November 2013
  3. ^ "Meathop Moss". Cumbria Wildlife Trust. Retrieved 3 November 2013.
  4. ^ Nichols Moss, Cumbria Wildlife Trust. Retrieved November 2013
  5. ^ Amodeo, Christian. "Cumbria's largest peatbog restored.(Foulshaw Moss)(Brief Article)." Geographical (UK). Circle Publishing Ltd. 2004. Accessed via HighBeam Research. 27 Dec. 2012 (subscription required).
  6. ^ "Meathop Moss" (PDF). English Nature. Retrieved 3 January 2015.
  7. ^ "Rare dragonflies hatch at reserve following reintroduction". The Guardian. 2011. Retrieved January 16, 2013.
  8. ^ "Ospreys seen at new site". Westmorland Gazette. May 2014. Retrieved 6 July 2014.