All photography provided by Erik Paterson
How it formed?
Langlands Moss is a lowland raised bog situated on the southern edge of the ‘new’ town of East Kilbride near the village of Auldhouse, South Lanarkshire.
It probably dates back to the closing stages of the last Ice Age, some 8,000 years ago. Such bogs began life as ‘kettle’ holes: in other words large depressions created by huge snowballs of fragmenting ice. As the ice gradually melted the depression filled up with the resulting melt water, and was retained in situ by an impervious pond lining of boulder clay.
Gradually ‘fen’ woodland would have become established on the mineral soils around the margins of the pond, and the pond itself would have slowly filled with silt washed in from the surrounding land. As the pond became shallower, the scene was set for emergent plants to grow e.g. rushes, sedges and their associates.
Eventually, the emergent fringe of plants prevented minerals from washing to the centre of the pond which combined with the decomposing vegetation, caused the water at the centre of the pond to became increasingly nutrient poor, or acidic. This set the scene for the next stage in the creation of the bog.
Sphagnum or bog mosses gradually colonised the acidic water. From this point onwards there was no looking back. The Sphagnum mosses grew in ever increasing numbers, forming whole carpets. While the top of the moss was constantly growing, the bottom of the moss died - but the important thing is that in the generally wet, waterlogged, cold conditions, the dead moss did not decompose, but gradually accumulated to form peat.
Sphagnum mosses are outstandingly good at holding on to water, perhaps retaining up to twenty times their own weight of water. Thus, over time, and we’re talking about thousands of years! - the bog surface began to rise, with the growing surface of the bog resting on the ever increasing depth of accumulated peat. Today, at the centre of the bog, the peat beneath your feet is approximately 8 metres deep! It is estimated that a metre of peat takes a 1000 years to form.