Blawhorn Moss NNR - About the reserve

Blawhorn Moss is a precious remnant of lowland raised bog, home to several rare species.




Managing habitats and inspiring people

Blawhorn Moss NNR is a one of the best examples of a lowland raised bog in central Scotland. Few of these sites remain.

The raised bit of a raised bog is a dome of peat containing 1,000 of years of accumulated plant material that doesn’t rot down because of waterlogged conditions. That is what peat is.

Carbon sink

There is a considerable amount of carbon in peat. To prevent it from getting into the atmosphere and so contributing to climate change, a bog needs to be kept waterlogged and ‘active’. If active and continuing to accumulate peat, it acts as a carbon sink.

We therefore want to maintain and extend the active bog at Blawhorn Moss NNR. This involves raising the overall water table and managing a fringe of vegetation called lagg fen. We do this by damming ditches and creating barriers to hold water within the bog.

We also graze the surface with sheep to keep vegetation in check. This stops scrub and trees from spreading, and encourages the sphagnum mosses.

Engaging people with nature

The reserve sits very close to a number of communities. Our priority is to give visitors access to the bog and an engaging experience.

We will continue to provide a route on to the reserve and look at ways of connecting it with the path network around Blawhorn. Our aim is to improve awareness of the reserve and the important role of places such as Blawhorn Moss.

Management planning

We plan our management carefully to make sure that the special qualities of the reserve thrive. In this way it will always give visitors an enjoyable experience and engage people with nature.

We produce 10-year management plans for our reserves. Find out more about how we manage Blawhorn Moss NNR:

• The Management Plan – sets out our priorities and tasks for managing the reserve between 2017 and 2027.
• The Reserve Story – an introduction to the natural heritage, historical interest, past management and designations which protect the reserve.

Protected areas

Blawhorn Moss NNR overlaps with several protected areas, including:

• Blawhorn Moss Special Area of Conservation
• Blawhorn Moss Site of Special Scientific Interest

Find out more about these protected areas and their designated features by searching the map.

Find out more

Learn more about Scotland’s National Nature Reserves.

Discover how protected areas safeguard our natural heritage.

Read our latest news release - New boardwalk extension opens at popular West Lothain nature reserve (6 July 2023)

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