Meathop Moss Nature Reserve attacked by vandals

Friday 9th March 2018

New entrance sign at Meathop Moss Nature Reserve vandalised New entrance sign at Meathop Moss Nature Reserve vandalised

Staff at Cumbria Wildlife Trust were ‘dismayed and shocked’ to discover recently that Meathop Moss Nature Reserve near Witherslack has been attacked by vandals.

The discovery comes soon after the Trust called for people to have more respect for Cumbria’s wild places, following the trespass by the driver of a Landrover which got stuck in the sands off South Walney Nature Reserve.

Paul Waterhouse, Reserves Officer at Meathop Moss Nature Reserve, which is one of the most remarkable examples of recovered peatlands in south Cumbria, explains what he saw when he visited the nature reserve: “When I arrived I was dismayed to find that the welcome sign which visitors see at the entrance to the nature reserve has been pulled out of the ground and one of the legs broken. This was a new interpretation sign that we put in place less than a year ago, at a cost of almost £1,000, with funding from SUEZ Communities Trust. This isn’t the first time that vandals have targeted the reserve. Within the last year a watering trough, used by the cattle grazing on our land was stolen, as were some of our tools. The police have been informed, but we’re at a loss as to why anyone would behave in such a wantonly destructive way at this important wildlife site, which large numbers of people enjoy visiting every year.

Meathop Moss Nature Reserve is a remarkable example of a raised peat bog. Since acquiring the nature reserve in 1998, Cumbria Wildlife Trust has undertaken significant work to restore the damaged peatlands, by removing trees, blocking drains and creating ‘bunds’, all to help the land retain water. Water retention is essential for a range of unusual plants to succeed, and ultimately continue forming peat. Special species found at the nature reserve include Sphagnum mosses, insectivorous sundew plants and bog-rosemary, which draw over 200 species of butterfly and moth.