Peckforton Mere – Restoring Meres & Mosses

International Importance

The Meres and Mosses of Cheshire, the Northern half of Shropshire and the North West Staffordshire plain form an internationally important series of open water and peatland sites. ’Meres and Mosses’ is one of the 92 Natural Areas identified by Natural England to provide a framework within which nature conservation objectives can be set.

The sensitive management of the Meres and Mosses and their catchment is vital for the health of these important ecosystems.

Historic Importance

The Meres and Mosses not only have an international importance for nature conservation but also provide evidence of glacial retreat in their mineral soils and local records of the vegetation colonisation of those bare soils to the present day. The layers of preserved pollen found in the peatland ‘archives’ forms a rich deposit of information, containing a record of changes both natural and man-made in the catchment area. They can also harbour a record of global events such as changes in climate.

A Project to Conserve and Enhance 21 ha of Wetland Habitat within and adjacent to Peckforton Mere

Opportunities which have been provided by this project can be summarised as follows:

•  Review how the wetland within and adjacent to the mere is managed

•  Provide an alternative long-term, low-input management regime

•  Utilise short-term capital works grant funding

•  Make available an upgrade of Higher Level Stewardship prescriptions to ensure the long-term sustainability of the project

In addition to Habitats & Hillforts, the support of three national organisations involved in conservation: Natural England, the Environment Agency and Cheshire Wildlife Trust working in partnership to provide expertise, advice and funding.

The key delivery elements of the project can be summarised as follows:

•  140 cubic meters of non-native poplar and pine sp. clear felled, removed from site and chipped for use as biofuel

•  Approx 2000 meters of post and wire fencing erected

•  Installation of a of a water impoundment structure downstream of the Mere to hold water levels in the catchment area longer through the year

•  Change of Higher Level Stewardship (HLS) prescriptions to better reflect natural processes of

•  catchment area around Mere

Scheduled Ancient Monument taken out of arable production and put into permanent grassland with a change of HLS prescription to reflect management.