Blaeberry Island Bog ASSI

Protected area type: Areas of Special Scientific Interest
Feature type: 
  • Habitat
  • Down
Council: Ards and North Down
Guidance and literature: Blaeberry Island Bog ASSI

Blaeberry Island Bog is of special scientific interest because of its physiographical features, peatland flora and associated fauna. The area occurs in low-lying hollows between a series of drumlins. Blaeberry Island Bog represents one of the last remaining and largest examples of active, regenerating, lowland raised bog in the south-east of Northern Ireland.

Blaeberry Island Bog is a remnant of the much larger Cottown Bog, which was extensively cut for turf in the past and much of it converted to agricultural land. The remaining bog, although extensively cutover, still contains some areas of deep peat and consists of a mosaic of bog, acid grassland, fen, woodland, pools and drains that have developed on the old peat cuttings. Recovery of the bog is evident in places, with hummocks, hollows and shallow pools supporting a diverse cover of vegetation, including bog-mosses Sphagnum species and ericoid dwarf-shrubs.

Most of the bog vegetation is characterised by heather, cross-leaved heath, common cottongrass, hare’s-tail cottongrass, bog Asphodel and the insectivorous round-leaved sundew.

The cover of bog-mosses is generally high, with the aquatic species cow-horn bog-moss and feathery bog-moss occurring in pools and wetter hollows. Red bog-moss, blunt-leaved bog-moss, Papillose bog-moss, flat-topped bog-moss, lustrous bog-moss,spiky bog-moss and soft bog-moss are all frequent over the surface of the bog. In wetter cuttings and at the edges of pools the nationally rare Golden Bog-moss can be found growing.

Royal and narrow buckler-ferns are frequent throughout but these two species have declined considerably in the east of Northern Ireland as a result of habitat loss.

Other habitats associated with the bog include wet woodland, scrub, acid grassland, heath, fen and wet ditches.

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