Moseley Bog

Moseley Bog - Water, Wildlife and Wonder

Moseley Bog is the oldest part of the reserve with a very different history to Joy’s Wood. The area is a surviving piece of a landscape which has now mostly gone from this part of Birmingham, and there are many species and historic features which tell its story.

The main watercourse in the Bog is the Coldbath Brook, in earlier times known as the Bulley Brook, which rises near the top of Cambridge Road in King’s Heath, and flows east for one and a half miles before entering the River Cole near Sarehole Mill (via the mill pool).

Surprisingly it isn’t the Coldbath Brook that makes Moseley Bog so wet, the water actually comes from the numerous springs which emerge from the ground in the north of the site.

Much of this lower part of the reserve was once a mill pool which helped supply Sarehole Mill with a constant source of water. The steps leading into the reserve from Pensby Close go up and over the large dam of the mill pool. In the 19th century the pool was drained and the area was left to ‘tumble-down’ to the woodland we see today.

In 1980 Moseley Bog was declared a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI), primarily in a bid to prevent the site from being developed following an application to build 22 detached houses on the site. The threat of development kick-started a campaign by local residents to ‘Save Our Bog’, a fight that lasted until 1986, when the city council bought a key section of the land to prevent the development, and so save the site for wildlife and the community.

The two Bronze age burnt mounds which were designated as scheduled ancient monument in 2002 are an important feature of the site and we protect the site from erosion and lead regular public walks with Mike Hodder, City of Birmingham Archaeologist.

    The water which seeps from the springs in the north of the site has created wet, soggy ground on which a special ‘wet woodland’ habitat has developed. This woodland is the oldest woodland in the reserve and a number of ‘old woodland’ species such as wood horsetail and various sedges can be found here. In the drier areas other old woodland species such as bluebell, wood sorrel and yellow pimpernel are present.
    Straddling the Coldbath Brook are the reserve’s primary archaeological treasures: the burnt mounds. Dating from around 3,000 years ago, the mounds are made up of piles of cracked stones and fragments of ancient burnt trees. It is thought that Bronze-age man heated the stones on a fire and poured water over them to create steam for sauna-type bathing. This would have been done in a structure made from wooden poles and animal skins known as a 'bender'. Today the Coldbath Brook cuts through these Scheduled Ancient Monuments.
  3. THE 'BOG'
    The open area in the centre of Moseley Bog is not strictly speaking a bog, but in fact a type of habitat known as ‘fen’. This is an uncommon habitat which supports numerous specialised plants and animals. Unfortunately much of the fen which used to be found in the countryside of Birmingham & the Black Country has been lost under our modern towns and intensively farmed fields. To retain this precious habitat The Wildlife Trust and Moseley Bog volunteers regularly remove colonising trees which dry the soil and shade out the plants and animals.
  4. POND
    The pond started life as a small quarry and later became an ornamental garden pond. Today this is home to numerous amphibians including common newts, as well as many fresh-water invertebrates.