A Lancashire Wildlife Trust sign at the entrance to Heysham Moss nature reserve

Alan Wright

A large heath butterfly perched on a wildflower at Heysham Moss nature reserve

Alan Wright

A sedge warbler clinging onto a strand of grass

Dawn Monrose

Sedge warblers chatter, rare butterflies flutter and buzzards circle overhead at Heysham Moss.

Location

Heysham Moss
Morecambe
Lancashire
LA3 2HJ

OS Map Reference

SD 423 603
A static map of Heysham Moss

Know before you go

Size
22 hectares

Parking information

Parking on roads close to the site.

Walking trails

The reserve has good footpaths.

Access

There are good footpaths around the reserve, but bear in mind these can become wet and muddy after bad weather.

Dogs

Under effective control

When to visit

Opening times

Open at all times.

Best time to visit

Summer

About the reserve

Heysham Moss is a real conservation success story. A mosaic of habitats including woodland, scrub, wet grassland and raised bog make it a biodiverse hotspot. In fact, Heysham Moss is the second best example of a cut-over raised bog in all of Lancashire, second only to our beautiful Winmarleigh Moss nature reserve.

Plant lovers and budding botanists will relish the chance to seek out round-leaved sundew, bog myrtle, bog rosemary, bog asphodel and locally rare white-beaked sedge, as well as a number of important mosses. Keep your eyes peeled for 12 species of sphagnum moss (or bog moss) – all of which contribute to the healthy raised bog ecosystem – and several rare liverworts.

Our thriving population of birds includes wonderful summer species such as sedge warbler, grasshopper warbler and reed bunting, as well as willow warbler and chiffchaff. Buzzards use the thermals to circle high overhead, and insect-lovers can watch dragonflies patrolling the reserve’s pools and ditches on the hunt for food.

In winter, snipe skulk along the edge of the wet grassland and central bog, and expertly camouflaged woodcock become one with the vegetation. Though rare at Heysham Moss, it isn’t unheard of to spot secretive jack snipe bobbing up and down as they feed, or small numbers of teal dabbling in the tranquil pools. Redwing and fieldfare have also been known to visit the Moss; gorging on hawthorn berries around the edges of the reserve.

The undisputed success story of Heysham Moss, however, is the large heath butterfly. Previously extinct on this site, the nationally rare butterfly was reintroduced between 2014 and 2016 with the support of The Lancashire Environment Fund and Chester Zoo, who cared for the eggs before they were carefully reintroduced to the Moss. So far, they have thrived – look out for underwings bordered by a row of black eyespots with a creamy yellow centre and halo.

Learn more about mosslands

Contact us

Reuben Neville
Contact number: 01524 855030

Environmental designation

Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI)