28 October 2010

Five Names, One Bog

In the midst of Cadney Moss stands a fine tower windmill, sympathetically converted. The 2,340 acres of Fenn’s, Whixall, Bettisfield, Wem & Cadney Mosses form Britain’s third largest lowland raised bog, after Thorne Moors and Hatfield Chase near Doncaster. The mosses were in the past exploited for peat, and thus display a regular pattern of drainage.

Commercial exploitation of the mosses grew with the arrival of the Llangollen Canal, engineered between 1801 and 1804, and the Oswestry, Ellesmere and Whitchurch Railway, opened 1864. Built as recently as 1938, Fenn's Old Works, a peat milling and baling facility, is steadily rusting into the ground it once processed. The canal was originally below the level of the bog, but this subsided as a result of the peat cutting. With extraction halted, the central part of the mosses is now returning to bog conditions.

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