CAN members converged on this village just south of Crewe and soon learned that it’s pronounced “win-bury”. The village hall was an excellent base for council member Dr Bill Bellamy’s introductory talk on this fascinating site. It was formed when glacial deposits melted in a deep hollow. Over the 10,000 years since the last Ice Age, sphagnum moss has built up many metres of peat which is still floating on water. Despite being a National Nature Reserve managed by Natural England, management of the site is highly dependent on volunteers (of whom Bill is one).

Bill leading the walk

Bill led a walk round the central bog area, which was a vivid tapestry of colours from the sphagnum mosses, cranberry, sundews, heathers and other special bog flora. There wasn’t time to look at all 1800 recorded invertebrate species but we visited the willow tree which is one of only three places in England still inhabited by the ultra-rare 10-spot pot beetle (Cryptocephalus decemmaculatus). None were to be seen, but we did have several sightings of the mean and moody looking bog hoverfly, Sericomyia silentis: a supersize wasp mimic, it is perfectly harmless.

Members getting stuck in on the invert hunt.

The bog is ringed by wet woodlands and grassland areas, in which we explored and recorded individually. The glorious sunshine tempted most of us to stay out, but a few dedicated souls went back to base to identify finds with the CAN microscopes. Bill emphasised how future monitoring of species on the site is now almost entirely dependent on amateur effort, and so we shall have to return.