Bog flowers


In terms of national scarcity, the bogs and valley mires are the most important habitats of the New Forest National Park - the Forest has 90 out of the 120 valley mires remaining in north-west Europe.

These habitats are significant because they are permanently wet and acidic and because they are so extensive. Although the majority of the plants of New Forest bogs do also grow further north, many of the animals cannot tolerate the colder conditions further north.

Bogs are a decreasing habitat worldwide because many have been drained for agriculture or development. It is therefore vital to conserve what still remains.

Relatively few species of plant can tolerate the permanently wet and acid conditions, and those that can are often uncommon and restricted due to the scarcity of the habitat. For these special plants to thrive, the spread of birch and sallow trees has to be prevented and sometimes cut back. This is best carried out by continual grazing - the animals like to eat the shoots and leaves of young trees, thus preventing them from growing.

In the past, when growing trees was considered more important than preserving rare habitats, some of the New Forest's valley mires were deliberately drained by straightening and deepening the meandering streams. Thankfully, European funding has recently enabled the Forestry Commission to reverse this damage through a succession of wetland restoration projects, so these rare and important habitats are once again returning to their former glory.

If you go in search of these fascinating plants do be careful not to trample them. Stay on the main tracks to avoid disturbing birds that may be trying to nest nearby.

  1. Bog flowers (you are here)
  2. Sundews
  3. Meadow thistle
  4. Marsh pennywort
  5. Bog pimpernel
  6. Coral necklace
  7. Bog asphodel
  8. Bogbean
  9. Bog myrtle


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