Our Runcorn WI gathering at Abbots Moss went well, there were 16 of us who turned up and Katie, our lovely expert from Cheshire Wildlife Trust gave us a fascinating talk. Walking on the Moss was a really interesting experience, Abbots Moss is a “quaking” moss which means it is a large raft of woven sphagnum moss floating on a five metre deep kettle hole full of water, peat and more water. The children were delighted to discover if they jumped up and down, the ground bounced under everyone’s feet! Being the largest person there I was a bit unnerved to find myself slowly sinking into the Moss as crystal clear water welled up over the spagnum and my new wellies. Standing still for long was not an option.
Two intrepid ladies from Fulshaw WI called Pauline Handley and Jean Hill have undertaken a real photographic study of their local Moss which is called Lindow Moss. They are looking at every aspect of the place and I think we are going to get an excellent case study from them.
A small group went for a walk around Wynbubury Moss and were enchanted by the wide variety of wildflowers there. They also saw a lot of dragon flies enjoying the sun.
A family group went to Burton Mere Wetlands and reported back that although the wetlands themselves are not drying up , birds from The Mediterranean area are travelling North to nest here viz. the 81 egrets nests and the Cattle egret’s nest 1 of 3 in the UK this year. Photo attached of the fledgling egrets, they are the white blobs on the far left of the pond and their nests are the white blobs in the distance down the path. There was also a spoonbill overhead which is a bird which normally stays around the Med and in Africa.
We thought we were doing these walks to highlight a fragile environment within our county that is threatened by climate change, and of course that is the case. However much more importantly, the Mosses actually act as a giant carbon sink, holding thousands of tons of carbon in the peat below the surface. Digging up the peat and putting it on our gardens, or draining the land for fir trees, would release all that carbon into our already overheated atmosphere. In Germany they have calculated that if their Mosses get destroyed it would release more carbon that the amount emitted by all their cars and lorries for a full year.