The Moor is a nationally important SSSI. It is the largest semi-natural lowland wetland still remaining in this region with a range of swamp, mire with acid springs and wet woodland habitats. It is managed by the Wildlife Trust. In addition to its wildlife interest peat was extracted from the Moor (from Tudor times as fuel, more recently as a filter for coal gas) and there is still evidence of the metal trackways used to run wagons along. The last person to work at peat digging died only recently. The chalybeate springs provided a nationally famous mineral water in the 1880’s, described as "the most invigorating tonic in the world".
* A link to the Wildlife Trust website on Flitwick Moor
Flitwick Moor in the 1940-50s
Article: Flitwick Moor, a photograph taken in June 1947. Since peat-cutting ended here during the last war, the area has dried out and become overgrown with birches. The narrow-gauge railway (just visible in front of the fence on this photograph) was used to transport the peat and was taken up in 1968, soon after peat-cutting finally ended on the Moor.
(Photo: Harry Meyer)
If you are anywhere near a peat bog in spring, you will see what looks like tufts of cotton wool swaying in the wind. This is cotton grass, or bog cotton, which isn't really a grass at all, but a type of sedge. The "cotton" is made of long white hairs that help the seeds to disperse in the wind.
Cotton Grass is commonly seen on high upland moors, but is rare in south east England. But it is also found on Flitwick Moor.
Cotton grass has been used in the past for making candle wicks, stuffing pillows and even dressing wounds.
This image of Saxifrage was taken just before the exit Maggot’s Moor area on the Two Moors Heritage Trail.