The magic of the Moss

Sitting in a queue of slow-moving traffic on the main Kirkintilloch to Lenzie road, it’s hard to imagine that just a few hundred yards away there’s a peaceful oasis overflowing with rare plants, wildlife and some of the most haunting views found anywhere in Central Scotland.

At a time when the greenbelt is under increasing pressure from developers eager to build, build, build in an effort to feed the seemingly neverending appetite for new houses, a place like Lenzie Moss is worth its weight in gold.

Photograph Jamie Forbes 11.12.13 Lenzie Moss Nature Reserve.

Photograph Jamie Forbes 11.12.13 Lenzie Moss Nature Reserve.

Not only does The Moss offer an excellent escape from the toils and stresses of today’s hectic lifestyle, it’s one of the district’s most valued natural habitats and is home to a wide range of plants and mosses, not to mention birds and rare insects.

Thousands of years old, the origins of Lenzie Moss date back to the end of the last Ice Age.

The retreating ice created hollows filled with large pools of water - ideal for plants that can tolerate a combination of high moisture, little in the way of nutrients and high acidity, such as sphagnum mosses.

Today, it’s made up of three distinct areas - raised peat bog, birch woodland and grassland - covering around 104 acres.

The raised peat bog is one of the few left in Central Scotland, making it an area of international significance.

Although no longer the case, peat has been removed from Lenzie Moss as far back as 1226.

In the 19th century The Moss was used as a municipal rubbish dump, a rifle range and for sheep grazing.

After the Second World War, peat became a popular product for horticultural purposes and the Lenzie Peat Development Company was set up. The company remained in operation until the 1960s and traces of the factory can still be seen today.

Lenzie Moss boasts a fantastic array of bog plants such as cranberry and bog cotton. It is also one of the only place in East Dunbartonshire where you’ll find bog rosemary.

Lucky visitors may catch a glimpse of roe deer, foxes, butterflies and birds like redwing, fieldfare and long-tailed tits.

Lenzie Moss has a lot to offer and is well worth a visit.