Meres and Mosses landscape partnership

The Meres and Mosses hold a mosaic of wetlands created by the action of ice and shaped by humans over thousands of years. Our vision is to restore a landscape of thriving wetlands - lakes, rivers, ponds and marshes which are a vital resource for wildlife and greatly valued by people.

 Water vole Arvicola terrestris, sitting on bank of canal feeding, Derbyshire, England, April


The Meres and Mosses hold more than 200 meres (pools) and mosses (bogs), with extensive areas of peat soils. These habitats are home to a range of valuable wildlife, such as water voles, white-faced darter dragonflies and breeding lapwings. A measure of its global importance is the designation of more than 20 square kilometres as Ramsar sites of international importance.
The Meres and Mosses have experienced a major decline and loss of biodiversity across the area. It is estimated that 90 per cent of wetlands have been drained since 1600. In Cheshire, 60 per cent of the 40,000+ ponds which existed in the 1870s had disappeared by the 1990s. Twenty-five species of plant are thought to have become extinct and several others are endangered, including the least water lily - now confined to Colemere.
A section of the Meres and Mosses has now been awarded status as a Nature Improvement Area (NIA) by Defra, and has secured Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) funding for a Landscape Partnership Scheme. These programmes are now being delivered by a partnership team based at The Shropshire Wildlife Trust, including a wetland restoration officer employed by the RSPB.


  • To work in partnership to protect and restore the wetlands of the Meres and Mosses for the benefit of people, wildlife and the historic environment.
  • To deliver more than 300 individual projects aimed at conservation, community engagement, access, heritage skills and learning.
  • To provide support and advice to farmers and landowners across the area.
  • To provide the conditions for increased populations of priority species such as water vole, small pearl-bordered fritillary, white-faced darter and breeding lapwing.

Planned Work

The project is already working with several landowners across the Meres and Mosses, with habitat restoration work planned to take place at several sites over the next few months. This includes the creation of wet pools for breeding waders, scrub management to restore lowland bogs and reducing shading of important mere sites.
The project team has also attended many events and are working with several community groups to involve local communities in the conservation of the area. 

Species affected (not UK birds)

Water vole, small pearl-bordered fritillary and white-faced darter dragonflies.


The programme brings together the following partners:


Nearly £2million of funding has been secured for the Meres and Mosses Landscape Partnership. This encompasses a Heritage Lottery funded Landscape Partnership Scheme (LPS) and a DEFRA funded Nature Improvement Area (NIA). Other organisations funding the scheme are: Northern Marches LEADER, The Jean Jackson Trust, Environment Agency, the RSPB and Natural England.


Coast on a stormy day

Mike Shurmer

Conservation Officer, RSPB
Tagged with: Country: England Habitat: Wetland Species: Curlew Species: Lapwing Species: Redshank Species: Snipe Project status: Ongoing Project types: Site protection