Monday, 22 July 2013

Press Release - International Bog Day 28 July 2013

PRESS RELEASE    21 July 2013


Events at Malham Tarn, Settle, North Yorkshire.
28 July is International Bog Day
     “Save British bogs – and visit one on International Bog Day- 28 July 2013”
says bog-plant botanist Dr Judith Allinson.

Malham Tarn in North Yorkshire has internationally important wetlands including the Bog and Fen, and a series of events are being organised for the public over 27 -28 July ...

Judith, who will be leading guided walks at Malham Tarn Bog and Fen on 27-28 July says:     “I recommend Malham Tarn Open Days (27-28 July). This is an opportunity to visit Malham Tarn Field Centre and grounds which are not normally open to the public, and to see stalls set up by many community organisations. The walks and workshops are a chance to learn why Malham Tarn Bog and Fen are so special, and to be shown the names of some of the plants and animals. Children welcome.”

The events are being organised by Malham Tarn Field Centre (Sat and Sun), the National Trust (Sun), Craven Conservation Group and the Yorkshire Naturalists Union Fresh-Water Group (various times)

1. What is a bog?
2. Why are bogs important?
3. Why have peat bogs been lost?
4. Why is Malham Tarn Fen and Bog so important?
5. Activities at Malham Tarn 27-28 July
6. Some International Bog Day events in different countries.
7. Wildlife examples for Malham Tarn Bog and Fen
8. Settle Age UK and Bog plant display at St John's Methodist Church Hall,  Settle

Peat Bogs are important fascinating vital habitats.

1. What is a peat bog?
As organic material accumulates in a wetland area, the organic material becomes more acid. Sphagnum (Bog-moss) starts to grow. This is too acid for decomposition to occur, so the Sphagnum piles up and up and forms peat. The peat may be several metres deep. If the bog forms above water it may be a quaking bog.

2. Why are bogs important?
Peat bogs are important for carbon storage (to avoid global warming), for water storage (to avoid flooding and droughts) and for wildlife. Peat bogs take thousands of year to form. Pollen preserved in peat tells us about past vegetation. Archaeological remains have been found in peat.

3. Why have peat bogs been lost?
Many of Britain’s Wetlands and Peat bogs have been lost by drainage for agriculture or sheep grazing.  If the water table is lowered in the surrounding area, or if birch trees become established, or tracks and foundations are built on pristine bogs for wind turbines,  the bog can dry out. Carbon dioxide is then emitted rather than being absorbed.
Many of Britain’s Wetlands and Peat bogs have been lost by drainage for agriculture or sheep grazing.  If the water table is lowered in the surrounding area, or if birch trees become established the bog can dry out. Bogs in Britain and Ireland are lost because the peat is used for garden compost and for fuel (including for power stations). There is a conflict of interests.

4. Why is Malham Tarn Bog and Fen so special.
The bog is acid. Round the edge of Malham Tarn bog there are limestone springs, and limestone  grassland. There is a gradation of vegetation types from the acid to the limestone which has been lost in most other bogs in England.  There are many special rare plants and insects here. The Fen and Bog are part of a National Nature Reserve, and a Ramsar Site (Wetland  Site of International Importance).

 5. Activities at Malham Tarn 27-28 July
 Guided walks for plants (from Mosses to Sedges, Ferns  to Flowers) will be led by Judith Allinson  of Craven Conservation Group at 11.15 am  both days and at a later time during the day.(01729 822138 to book) . Freshwater investigations (pond dipping and workshops looking at the creatures in the lab under microscopes) will be led by Sharon and Peter Flint (of the Yorkshire Naturalists Union) on the Saturday at 1pm. This is part of the Tarntastic Open Days at Malham Tarn Field Centre, held to celebrate 70 years of  activity of the Field Studies Council (F.S.C.) .(The F.S.C. runs  17 Field Centres .. of which Malham Tarn was one of the first four to start. The F.S.C. has leased the centre from the National Trust since 1947, and runs plant, animal, ecology, geography, art and other creative courses for schools, universities and the public)   

The National Trust which owns the Malham Tarn Estate will be running family events on Sunday 28th from 11am to 3pm including pond dipping, craft activities and bird boxes. (01729 830416)  Malham Tarn Field Centre will be running some activities for children (01729 830331)

 6. Other events for International Bog Day include:
 The Northern Ireland Bog Snorkelling Championships at Peatlands Park
 ... Events in Chicago and Illinois  and British Columbia.

7. Wild life on  bogs and Wetlands at Malham Tarn
Examples of birds at or near Malham Wetlands: include: Curlew, snipe, redshank, golden plover, meadow pipit;  Insects: Great diving-beetles, dragonflies, damselflies and caddis-flies. Other animals: lizards, water-shrews. Plants: Carnivorous plants such as sundew, butterwort and bladderwort; Edible fruit: bilberry, cowberry, cloudberry, cranberry;  Beautiful flowers: bog asphodel, bog rosemary, cross-leaved heath; Mosses: In Britain there are 34 different species of Sphagnum (Bog-moss) of which half can be found at Malham Tarn. Amazing!.

8. As a precursor to International Bog Day Judith gave a workshop at St John's Methodist Church Hall, Settle to Settle Age UK, on Friday 19th July and with the help of the participants prepared a wall display which hall participants can enjoy..

Judith Allinson says
     "Do come to Malham Tarn - or visit a bog near you. Find out more about bogs from your local Natural History Society and avoid using peat-based garden compost."  

ENDS …………………………………………………………..

Sunday, 21 July 2013

Bog-Day 2013 display at Settle and Age UK

28th July 2013 is International Bog Day.

On Friday 19th July  Settle Age UK Lunch Club 
had booked me to give a talk on wild flowers...
So guess what the topic was!
.... The brilliance of bog plants -- leading to International Bog Day

In this post I recount some of my adventures in organising the talk.

and give them thanks for helping me make the display..

The display will be there for other groups who use the Hall.

I got up early and collected a few samples of some (not rare)  bog plants from two nearby bogs - Helwith Bridge and Ribblehead. It was SO hot.!
The Bog Asphodel was in perfect condition - the flowers just coming out.
 Then at Ribblehead some men were repairing the bridge

After the meal at St John's, Settle, I got the people to talk about the uses of bogs. then we stuck some of the plants onto sheets to put on the wall and onto cards to make greetings cards:

Read my post about International Bog Day and Malham Tarn Fen and Peat Bog

Read my post about the event which actually took place at Malham Tarn on 27-28 July 2013

Wednesday, 17 July 2013

International Bog Day -28 July - Malham Tarn Bog and Fen

28 July is International Bog Day (and there will be events below on 27th and 28th)
(also see press release)

(For a Picture Report of the event which eventually took place 28-29 July 2013 at Malham Tarn  click here)

Now you may think bogs are dangerous damp places with pools full of green bog-moss where you can trip up and fall in.

Well yes they can be..

But this time of year Malham bog is relatively dry - and the event described below  will be a (free) opportunity to find out the magic secrets of the Moss.

Find out the top ten secrets of Malham Tarn Bog: (I am going to write this section shortly when I have time...)
10. Bog Mosses: Sphagna- There are 34 different types of Bog-Moss in the UK and Malham Tarn is home to half of them!  (This is quite amazing, as in the South Pennines there are only about 6 types of Bog-Moss as most species have disappeared due to air pollution during the Industrial Revolution)
The rare Cleft bog-moss Sphagnum riparium (yellow green) (click for distribution map)
and common Blunt-leaved bog-moss Sphagnum palustre (seen here with orange centre) (map)
grow on Malham Tarn Fen 
----I will make a display of some of these.

... or maybe you should come on the walk yourself to find out!!!

To celebrate International Bog Day, and the day before 27-28 July
  Judith Allinson of Craven Conservation Group
will be leading some walks at Malham Tarn Field Centre, BD24 9PU
to Malham Tarn Moss (The Bog)
and to Malham Tarn Fen (The adjacent wetlands - of international importance for their conservation value).

This is part of the Tarntastic Celebrations at Malham Tarn
which is celebrating 70 years of the "Field Studies Council". Malham Tarn is one of 17 centres run by the FSC. which runs environment education days and courses for people of all ages and abilities.

These two days at Malham Tarn are FREE. .. so make the most of them. (and include stalls, food, music, presentations, walks and more..)

Dr Judith Allinson has also run courses for the Field Studies Council, for CIEEM, for Natural England, for Plantlife and  other organisations.
  Her next long course at Malham Tarn open to all is "Grasses Sedges and Rushes" 2-9 August

If you would like to attend or want more details, send an email

Sharon and Peter Flint of the Yorkshire Naturalists Union will be running some pond dipping sessions and will show some of their Insect Survey results that that have made using the Malaise Traps on the Fen.

Terry Whitaker of Butterfly Conservation will be setting up a moth trap on one of the evenings and we will be able to look at some of the moths which live on the Bog and Fen.

On Sunday 27th the National Trust will run a Family Day on the Fen -  Family Fun Day at Malham Tarn -  a day of fun up at Malham Tarn. We will be doing a variety of activities including pond dipping, minibeast hunts, guided cycle rides (bring your own bike & helmet), craft activities and making bird / bug houses. There will also displays and information in the newly renovated Orchid House. You have to book and pay for this. 11am-3pm Adult £5-00, child £2-50


Veronica catenata in inflow stream

Two insects doing their thing.

YNU Botany Group at Malham Tarn at YNU 150 year celebrations - July 2011

Hare's-tail Cotton-grass in May on Malham Tarn Bog

Grass-of-Parnassus- it would take rather of lot of luck to have it out by 27 July, - This photo was taken 10 Aug 2012

YNU Butterfly group photo an Emerald Moth - July 2011

Large Emerald

Large Emerald

On the Fen board-walk

Looking for sedges - One third of the British Cyperaceae (sedge family) grow within 3 miles of Malham Tarn

A Hover-fly on a devil's-bit scabious with the Bog in the right far background

A gentle walk on the Board-Walk
(For a Picture Report of the event which eventually took place 28-29 July 2013 at Malham Tarn  click here) 

Other places celebrating International Bog Day include:


Peatlands Park, N. Ireland -
International Bog Day and NI Bog Snorkelling Championships