UK Lowland Wetland Habitats



UK lowland wetland habitats include raised bog and fen. Lowland raised bog is a specialised habitat of elevated deposits of raised peat. It is both very acidic and nutrient-poor, being fed by rainwater rather than groundwater. Raised bogs are typically found in topographical depressions or at the head of estuaries or along river flood-plains. They are a particular feature of cool, rather humid regions, such as the north-west lowlands of England, the central and north-east lowlands of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Remnants also occur elsewhere, for example the Somerset Levels, South Yorkshire and Fens of East Anglia. Lowland fen is found across the whole of the British Isles, from sea level up into the hills, and grows on peat, peaty or mineral soils, which may be permanently, seasonally or periodically waterlogged. Fens are fed by groundwater and surface run-off and consequently support lush vegetation.


Lowland wetland habitats are a priority for nature conservation. They support a myriad of highly specialised plants and animals and have undergone a dramatic decline in area during the last century – consequently they are amongst the rarest and most threatened habitats in the UK. Both lowland raised bogs and lowland fen are included as priority habitats within the UK Biodiversity Action Plan, and there are six separate lowland wetland habitat types listed under Annex I of the EU Habitats Directive.


Use the following page links to find out more about UK lowland wetland habitats:


Image copyright: Left to right: Bladder sedge, Laggan Reservoir, Argyll & Bute © Ian Strachan; Sphagnum fallax moss and cranberry fruits © Ian Strachan; White-faced darter dragonfly © Scottish Natural Heritage; Bog asphodel flowers © Ian Strachan; Cotton grass flowers © Helen Baker

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