Peat bog in Edinburgh

Pond Dipping at Red Moss

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Sun 22 Jul 2018

Today was International Bog Day, a day which promotes the importance of wetland bogs throughout the world. It was established here in Scotland in 1991 and is celebrated annually, on the fourth Sunday in July. The Scottish Wildlife Trust marked the occasion at the Red Moss of Balerno Nature Reserve, Edinburgh’s own bog, with a family-friendly open day. So, my husband and I took the kids along for a walk and a bit of pond-dipping.

Footpath through Red Moss Nature Reserve

Red Moss, located out to the west of the city, on the edge of the Pentland Hills, is the last remaining raised bog in Edinburgh. Raised bogs are areas of deep, acidic peat, which build up over many thousands of years. As the layer of peat accumulates it raises into a dome shape. At Red Moss the peat layer is over five metres thick. It’s an important wildlife reserve, attracting various wetland plants and animal life. In summer and autumn, the area is covered in a blanket of heather and sphagnum mosses.

We haven’t had much rain in Edinburgh so far this summer, so the bog is unusually dry and cracked and not quite as colourful. But it’s still a beautiful and tranquil place to visit. There is a wide boardwalk that takes you over the peatland. It’s a nice, flat and accessible walk, so it’s great if you have a buggy with you, or small children on foot.

Two children pond dipping with nets

As part of the open day, there was an information point with leaflets and magazines about the Scottish Wildlife Trust and how you can support them. There was also a children’s quiz, with nature questions up along the path for us to answer. They were quite tricky actually! There was also pond-dipping, which our kids really enjoyed. Due to the dry summer, there wasn’t as much water in the pond as usual. Still, they managed to find plenty of creatures in there. Among others, they found a greater water boatman, damsel fly larva and a palmate newt.

trays with creatures found in pond

We had a great time learning about our local peat bog and its wildlife! You can visit Red Moss of Balerno by getting the number 44 bus out to Balerno and walking a mile from there, or you can park at Threipmuir Reservoir.

Red Moss of Balerno, Edinburgh, EH14 7JT
www.scottishwildlifetrust.org.uk