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Easter Inch Moss in Autumn

Local Nature Reserves

Local Nature Reserves (LNRs) are places to enjoy and learn more about local wildlife or geology and can be found near city centres, on the coast, or in the countryside.

They can be all sorts of places - woodlands, wetlands, meadows or coastal sand dunes. They provide wild spaces where plants and animals, both common and rare, can thrive. They offer a more natural environment than parks and gardens, but are still readily accessible to, and for a wide range of people.

Easter Inch Moss and Seafield Law Local Nature Reserve

Easter Inch Moss and Seafield Law Local Nature Reserve is an area of locally important natural heritage, managed by West Lothian Council in partnership with a Local Management Group. It was designated a Local Nature Reserve (LNR) in 2007. The reserve gives people the chance to learn about and enjoy nature close to where they live as well as being a valuable green space to be enjoyed between two built up areas (Blackburn and Seafield).

Easter Inch Moss

As well as being a valuable green space for local residents, the moss is also home to over 140 different plant species, with 11 being recognised as rare in West Lothian. The moss is home to a wide array of bird life, insects and mammals in the open areas of the moss, with toads and newts found in the damp wet areas. 
However, like many peat bogs in the UK, Easter Inch Moss has been badly damaged by poor management over the years but is recognised as an important area for wildlife which should be protected for generations to come. Although it is already a haven for wildlife, Easter Inch Moss has the potential to return to its former glory as a lowland peat bog. 

Today, a project funded by the SNH Bog Restoration Fund, looks to restore Easter Inch Moss back to previous state. Volunteers have been removing the encroaching scrub and damming of ditches to help rewet the bog, with the aim to convert the Moss back into a healthy bog that will continue to absorb and store carbon, helping reduce climate change for generations to come. 

If you'd like to get involved with this project contact Hannah Crow, Countryside Ranger on 01501 743905/07833 049511 or Hannah.crow@westlothian.gov.uk

The council is in the process of updating the Easter Inch Moss Management Plan that was last revised in 2011 and should be presented to the Environment Policy & Development Panel  for consideration in Winter 2016/ Spring 2017.

Why Peat Bogs are important

About 18% of the world's peatlands are found in Scotland and are thought to hold over 3000 million tons of carbon. Unfortunately, Scotland has already lost approximately 80% of its peatlands through land reclamation, forestry, farming and peat extraction and many of those remaining are under threat.

A healthy peat bog absorbs and stores carbon over time but an unhealthy, dry bog releases carbon, adding to carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and contributing greatly to climate change. At present it is thought that Scotland's unhealthy bogs are releasing approximately 10 million tons of carbon back into the atmosphere every year. If we can restore Scotland's bogs and make them healthy again, they will stop releasing this carbon and will instead store it.

Peat can also help prevent flooding as it acts like a giant sponge. It soaks up and stores rainwater coming from the surrounding area, allowing it to be slowly released into the surrounding waterways. This also helps to reduce the impacts of flooding further down the valley, as the moss helps reduce the force and speed of the water which in turn reduces the amount of erosion.

 

Harperrig Reservoir

Harperrig Reservoir
Harperrig Reservoir
Harperrig Reservoir lies to the north of the Pentland Hills within the boundary of the Pentland Hills Regional Park. It is owned by City of Edinburgh Council and managed as part of the Water of Leith flood prevention scheme. Around the reservoir is intensively grazed neutral grassland, along with large areas of marshy grassland.
 
It is proposed to designate Harperrig Reservoir as West Lothian's second local nature reserve in 2011/12. This formal legal process is underway.

Find out more from the pdf icon Harperrig local nature reserve management plan [3Mb] 2009-14 (adopted December 2009).

The council is in the process of updating the Harperigg Reservoir Habitat Management Plan that ran until 2014 and should be presented to the Environment Policy & Development Panel  for consideration in Winter 2016/ Spring 2017.