Bankhead Moss IPA

Location: South west of Beith, Ayrshire

Grid Reference: NS 346 505

Bankhead Moss IPA has been recognised as one of 165 Important Plant Areas in the UK.

The key features of this IPA are:

  • One of the best UK examples of threatened habitats of raised bogs with growing sphagnum
  • Bankhead Moss is a small raised bog with the characteristic domed centre, a very rare habitat in this part of Scotland and the last remnant of the habitat in Fife. It is surrounded by willow scrub, birch and Scots pine and the old drainage ditches are dammed to maintain high water levels.

    Plants you could see

    Look out for different types of Sphagnum, especially in the depressions or lint-holes, which are artificial, and were used for processing flax in the 18th and 19th centuries. In spite of the past industrial activities, there are still at least 6 different kinds of sphagnum moss actively growing in the holes. Around the pools you may find sundews - rosette-shaped plants which trap insects as large as dragonflies on the sticky hairs fringing their leaves. There is a small area of marginal fen on the north side of the site where the water is relatively nutrient-rich. Plants growing here reflect the conditions and include meadowsweet, tall grasses, sedges, and flowering herbs such as ragged robin, marsh marigold, buttercups, and wild angelica. The drier ground is dominated by heather, cross-leaved heath and cotton grass, which conceal a good growth of lichens. Also to be found here are crowberry, bog asphodel, sedges, and lichens such as Cladonia, all reflecting the acidic nature of the peat in which they grow.

    Springtime: primrose, cuckooflower, bluebell, marsh marigold

    Summer: sundews, bog asphodel, branched bur-reed, bogbean, heathers,

    Autumn and winter: gorse, lichens, mosses and fungi