Carsegowan Moss IPA

Location: North of Wigtown in Dumfries & Galloway, west of Carsegowan on the A714.

Grid Reference: NX 427 589

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

The key features of this IPA are:

  • The species richness of vascular plants in bogs
  • One of the best UK examples of threatened habitats of:
    Raised bogs with growing sphagnum
  • Carsegowan Moss is a remnant of a once extensive series of raised bogs which formed on estuarine clays around the Solway Firth.

    Raised bogs usually lie over a depression in the underlying clay, fed entirely by rain water. The vegetation sits on Sphagnum peat which acts like a giant sponge holding a huge amount of water and is thickest in the centre of the bog giving it a characteristic domed appearance. Raised bogs are now rare in Britain. They are very susceptible to water loss and most have been drained for cultivation.

    Although Carsegowan has survived largely intact, the moss has long been cut for peat, partially drained and periodically burnt and the fringes of the drying bog are also being invaded by birch and conifers from surrounding plantations, all of which have seriously affected its natural vegetation.

    The bog surface which is a continuous moss carpet of Sphagnum is dominated by heather, cross-leaved heath and bog myrtle. In the more open areas, both cranberry and bog rosemary occur in some quantity, together with lichens, bog asphodel, and sundews.

    A fringe of almost pure birch woodland is home to a variety of lichens and has a ground flora which includes bog myrtle, purple moor-grass and blaeberry. In the centre a stand of Scots pine lies over moss hummocks of Sphagnum.