Pool system on peat bog, Forsinard, Flow Country, Sutherland, Scotland, June - Mark Hamblin/2020VISION

What are bogs?

Bogs are extremely wet places, and can also be known as mires, marshes or swamps. The soil in these areas is very dark and known as peat. It holds so much water that it actually has fewer solids than milk, meaning it’s very easy to lose a wellie in!

Peat diggings

Peat diggings, North Harris, Scotland. - Peter Cairns/2020VISION

Peat is created very slowly, around 1mm a year, and holds an amazing amount of information. The layers in a  lump of peat from a thousand years ago can tell an expert anything from what kind of plants and insects were living at the time, to whether a volcano had just erupted in Iceland!

Who lives on a bog?

Because bogs are so wet very few things are happy to live on them. In order to survive many of our plants have to think of clever ways to get by. Carnivorous plants make up for the lack of nutrients in the soil by munching on insects instead. Sundew’s have sticky leaves which the insects can’t escape from.

Download the bog spotter sheet

Types of bogs

There are lots of different kinds of bogs. In the UK we have lots of blanket bogs. Globally they are very rare but with our wet climate they cover many areas across northern England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland. Lowland raised bogs are another type we had a lot of, but unfortunately many were destroyed in the past. 

Peat bog

Peat bog by Mark Hamblin/2020VISION

How you can help

Today lots of work is going into restoring bogs, as their value for nature is incredibly high. One of the important things we can do is avoid buying peat. This is often used in garden compost. Digging up peat from bogs means we lose all the amazing animals that live on them like dragonflies and hen harriers.

Save our bogs and make your own compost!

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