Summary of site:
This is one of a complex of bogs along the Fairy Water River and it is in almost pristine condition.
The slow accumulation of vegetation in bogs makes them ideal sites for the sequential accumulation of pollens from the vegetation of the surrounding area. Detailed study of this buried record enables the history and evolution of vegetation to be reconstructed, providing valuable climatic evidence in the process.
Peat cores taken from Claraghmore have yielded a complete record of the vegetation of the Holocene (the time interval since the end of the last glaciation). Radiocarbon dating has also been used to calibrate the pollen record, making this an invaluable site for age comparisons with more problematic localities.
More recently, the possibility of bogs providing a record of major volcanic events has emerged from research. This is possible because fine volcanic particles (tephra) can be blasted high into the atmosphere and beyond and carried huge distances before finally settling. Added to a carbon-dated pollen sequence, as on this site, precise dating of violent volcanic events becomes possible. This kind of research has been conducted on Garvaghullion, a neighbouring bog and, extended to this bog, would build a secure and invaluable time frame for future research.
The bog also has a rich variety of modern Sphagnum mosses and other flowering plants typical of wet bogs, and there is a distinct possibility that a patch of oak and hazel woodland immediately to the east is of considerable age (perhaps even mediaeval). This is inferred from the large numbers of woody and herbaceous species found in the woodland.
There are no immediate threats to the site but wetlands are especially delicate environments, prone to sudden and often short term events such as enrichment by blown fertilizer or the drainage of slurry and the drainage and cutting of turf for domestic or horticultural use. Grazing cattle threaten the rich variety of species in the woodland.
There is a growing opinion that the boundaries of the Area of Special Scientific Interest should be revised and redrawn to offer wider protection and to include more recently identified research and heritage potential.