Blawhorn Moss NNR - visiting the reserve leaflet
Welcome to Blawhorn Moss National Nature Reserve
Blawhorn Moss is a secret place. Hidden among windswept moors, this wilderness is a rare survivor of the raised and blanket peat bogs which once covered much of Central Scotland. Here there is space to breathe and escape the city. Take time to absorb the wide vistas, listen to the squelches and plops of a living bog and appreciate the changing moods of a timeless land of water.
Blawhorn Moss has changed little over the last 8000 years. Thick, black peat slowly formed from the squashed remains of dead plants, especially sphagnum mosses which retain rainwater like a sponge. In places the peat is now deep enough to bury two double decker buses. As dead plants sink and new shoots grow, the peat is still growing, though only at the rate of a millimetre a year.
A bog for all seasons
The mood and colours of the bog change with the seasons. In spring nesting birds call to each other and the first dragonflies flit over the bog pools. Summer brings the haunting call of the curlew and a sea of bog cotton waving in the wind. Waterloving plants thrive including the carnivorous sundew which traps and digests unwary insects. Heathers add purple to the carpet of reds, oranges and vivid greens as autumn approaches. On a winter’s day a short-eared owl scans the silent bog as it hunts for small prey and at dusk a hen harrier flies over looking for a place to roost.
By car leave the M8 at junction 4 and take the A801 and then the A89 to Blackridge. Look for the first minor road on the right 750 metres west of the village.
It is signposted to the car park, 500 metres from the main road (A89). From Airdrie head east on the A89 towards Blackridge for 5.6 miles, turning left at the last minor road before the village. By public transport. A footpath network connects Blackridge with the Reserve, a mile to the north. There are local bus services at Blackridge and a railway station on the North Clyde Line from Helensburgh to Edinburgh via Glasgow, Airdrie and Bathgate. The Reserve entrance connects with the National Cycle Network Route 75 (Glasgow-Edinburgh) via the Blawhorn link road.
For further information please contact:
NatureScot, Strathallan House, Castle Business Park, Stirling FK9 4TZ.
Tel: 01786 450362.
Need to know
700 metre long track with a gentle to moderate slope from car park to Reserve entrance. All ability path and boardwalk to view the bog. Round trip from car park is about two kilometres. Bogs are wet, dangerous places with soft ground, deep pools and ditches. Please keep to the boardwalk and paths and look after children.
Keep dogs on a short lead or under close control.
Take home litter including dog dirt.
Working with Reserve staff, local people have helped to make Blawhorn Moss a special place. A network of footpaths links the Reserve with the village. Pupils from Blackridge Primary School produced drawings for this leaflet and have made an animated film Bog Bugz and the Moss Monsterz. The amazing story of the tiny hair moss inspired Jim Whitson, the ‘Blazing Blacksmith’, to create art works on the boardwalk.
Blaw the horn
It is said that Blawhorn was a lookout point for the Glasgow-Edinburgh coaches on the road below. The watcher blew a horn to alert the Craig Inn – the local coaching inn – to prepare for thirsty travellers and a change of horses. Nowadays the stable block of the inn houses Blackridge Community Museum, open during library times, which tells the village’s history