Welcome to Gotleigh Moor. Here you can learn about this stunning location and its geological importance.
Gotleigh Moor and the neighbouring Southey Moor were designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest in 1988. The total area is just over 80 hectares with Gotleigh Moor covering about 25 hectares. The area is probably the best example of a valley mire on the Blackdown Hills and has a rich mosaic of acid marshland, alder/birch carr and diverse moderately acid flush and bog complex. The valley mire lies on the spring line where bog pool communities have developed over waterlogged peat. Channels intersect low hummocks each providing different conditions for the bog communities.
The plateau areas tend to be base poor whereas further down the slope conditions are more base rich. The tops of the hummocks support wet heath communities. There are 7 or 8 different sedge species and good numbers of Heath spotted orchid, Southern Marsh orchid and Lesser Butterfly orchid. Heavily waterlogged areas in the valley bottom and sides are colonised by alder and birch and there are a number of different ferns in the understorey. Transitions to related plant communities can be seen on the site. Where the water table falls dry heath communities have developed and there are areas of marsh grassland and rush meadow. Dryer grazed areas support grassland communities. The diversity of the site provides habitats for amphibians and invertebrates.
Previous management has been to allow cattle to graze the whole area between April and October. This strategy keeps some of the more vigorous grass species under control and the trampling opens up the sward and mire sections for seedling germination. Cattle also help to control tree seedlings from encroaching on the moorland and help prevent scrub species like gorse and bracken from spreading.
The management strategy will continue to maintain these fragile communities in good condition.