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Black Moss Nature Park

We are working with West Lothian Council to manage and improve the woodlands and peatland in this nature park in Armadale.

The Green Action Trust is working with West Lothian Council to improve Black Moss Nature Park in Armadale, with the initial focus on managing existing woodland and grassland and a longer-term aim to make the whole site, including the peatland, better for people and wildlife.

West Lothian Council have been working at Black Moss for a long time, with local volunteers including the Friends of Black Moss and Butterfly Conservation’s Bog Squad, on woodland management, litter picking and peatland conservation. The Council recognises that the Nature Park needs improvement to make it a better place for wildlife as well as people. There are opportunities to enhance the biodiversity across the site in various ways, that will also benefit residents and visitors and help to mitigate the impacts of climate change.

The image shows an aerial map of the site, with various areas identified for site management. Click on the image for a full size version.

Options for improving the environment and biodiversity at Black Moss

In summary, the following options are being considered. We would welcome feedback on taking these forward, through our survey.

  • Woodland management: remove non-native conifers to encourage native species
  • Meadow / grassland managed for pollinators
  • Pond / wetland management
  • Peatland / bog conservation action
  • Orchard creation
The importance of the Peatland

Peatlands are one of the most important natural stores of carbon in Scotland. When they are functioning properly, they can also absorb carbon from the environment. They are threatened by drying out where they have been drained, and from trees, especially non-native conifers growing.

The conifers around the High School, and to the other edges of Black Moss to the south and east are producing seeds which have been identified as a risk to the bog. These trees have not been managed and are becoming over-large, and they can also be a location for anti-social behaviour.

The removal of these conifers would help to open the site making it lighter and more visible. Replacing the conifers with native, broadleaved trees will benefit biodiversity, as would allowing the bog edge to develop more naturally.

Building on current habitat management

There is scope to improve upon some of the existing habitats at Black Moss to further develop biodiversity, including:

  • Land management for pollinators – maintaining the open space to the east of the site for insects including bees and moths. Improving the number of flowering plants in the grassland by adding wildflowers and orchard trees will help these important species that bring us many benefits.
  • Native woodland management – replacing non-native conifers with native trees and managing the existing native woodland will improve the site for wildlife as well as long-term carbon storage.
  • Investigating what further measures can be implemented on the bog itself to help raise the water table. This will make sure the peat below ground stays wet and becomes a functioning carbon store, as well as supporting unique bog wildlife and potentially helping with local surface water management.
Have your say in our survey

We would like to invite local residents to provide feedback on what you think about Black Moss as well as the plans for the site.

To get involved, please complete this survey by 31st July 2023.

The survey can also be accessed at: https://forms.office.com/e/yCiLTG0TAZ

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