Location: SSSI is located just under 1km east of Gordon
OS Grid Reference: NT 635425 (OS 1.50,000 map 74)
Area (ha) : 44.5 (110 acres approx)
Reserve Status : Part of the site is an SWT Wildlife Reserve
Gordon Moss, now covered by thick birch woodland, is the surviving remnant
of a much larger moss. The shallow depression in which it lies was at one
time occupied by a loch covering up to 600 hectares. Over thousands of
years, the loch gradually filled up with vegetation which eventually formed
successive layers of peat.
As early as 12th Century local people cut this peat for fuel and it became
so important to the local economy that the Moss was divided into three areas
– The Feuars’ Bog, the Laird’s Bog and the Minister’s Bog – thus enabling
local people to maintain their own land rights. Parts of the
Moss were also drained and animals were freely grazed on the land.
In 1860 a railway was built across the Moss, enabling coal and other
commodities to be transported to the area. The local people were no longer
dependent on the peat and cutting declined. Attempts were made to drain the
remainder of the Moss but this was unsuccessful. Gradually the area fell
into decline and the railway was abandoned.
Interesting to note that they used to cut birch to make hurdle-fences for
The site has a good recorded history with documentation back to the middle
of the 19th century. Since 1938, 230 higher plant species have been recorded
on the site and these include several Scottish rarities such as the
Coral-root Orchid and 5 other orchids. Caterpillars of over 380 different
moths can be found along with a variety of butterflies can be found in this
luxuriant vegetation and it is not unusual to find adders basking on warm
Intensive research is undertaken at this reserve and regular work is
undertaken to conserve the area. Since 1969 the Scottish Wildlife Trust has
taken responsibility for the Moss making nature conservation its top
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