Brown Moss IPA
Location: South of Whitchurch, Shropshire, east of the A41.
Grid Reference: SJ 562 394
Brown Moss is one of Shropshire’s most interesting sites for plants, with over 200 species of wild plants, including the rare floating water plantain. The Moss differs from the other North Shropshire Mosses in consisting of a series of pools set in an area of heathland and woodland, rather than an expanse of peat.
It has been suggested that the site may once have been peat covered, and that peat removal in the past has led to the present condition of the site. It is of special importance for the marsh, swamp and fen communities, such as bottle sedge and bladder sedge, associated with the pools which occupy hollows in the sand and gravel substrate.
Vegetation at the margins of the pools includes tall communities dominated by great reedmace, soft rush, branched bur-reed, bottle sedge and bladder sedge. There are also extensive areas of shorter grassland and marsh at the margins of some of the pools, with common spike-rush and creeping bent among the dominant species.
Uncommon species which occur in the shallow water, fen and marsh communities include orange foxtail, lesser water-plantain, floating water-plantain, floating scirpus, small bur-reed, marsh st. John’s wort and the rare liverwort Riccia canaliculata. One hollow is occupied by a small quaking bog dominated by Sphagnum recurvum and soft rush and supporting characteristic bog species such as round-leaved sundew.
Image: Brown Moss SSSI © Peter Wakely, Natural England