If you like big spiders this is the place for you. Here in this gorgeous peat bog lives the raft spider, a monster that walks across the water hunting its prey.
This is as ancient a piece of wilderness as you will find in Shropshire, a miraculous relic circled with trees beyond which the modern world gets on with intensive agricultural production.
Wem Moss is an outstanding example of a lowland raised bog, a wildlife habitat that exists in Britain today in just tiny remnant fragments. Ninety-four per cent of its former range has been destroyed or degraded by drainage, intensive peat cutting, grazing, forestry and pollution, leaving just 503 hectares of unspoilt raised bog in England.
Some of the plants here are monsters too, all three British species of sundew grow here, catching unsuspecting insects in their sticky, hairy leaves. Look too, in late summer, for the starry golden spikes of bog asphodel, bog myrtle and bog rosemary.
The Trust's conservation staff wage continuous battle here with encroaching bushes and trees, which, if left unchecked, consume millions of gallons of water, causing the bog to dry out. We have recently installed some metal sheet piling along the edge to hold the water in the bog (but off the neighbouring farmer's fields).
Warning! There are adders on the Moss and so it is essential to wear wellingtons or walking boots. It is rough walking and no place for a picnic.
Directions: The Moss lies between Wem and Ellesmere. Park in Northwood, and take the north-bound track from the eastern edge of the village. The track takes you over a footbridge, through some trees and on to the Moss.
Ownership: Shropshire Wildlife Trust (1988)
Postcode: SY13 2LT
Grid ref: SJ 474 343