Out beyond Southport, on the way towards Preston is today’s walk location, full of treasure and interest. Even if a first glance might lead you to think it’s at the bleak end of nowhere, it is in fact a very special somewhere. Welcome to the Marsh.

In a way it’s two marshes, separated by a road up on a dyke. Saltwater on its sea side, freshwater on the other. The whole place is called Marshside by the RSPB who take care of it, but we’ve come to this haven of nature looking for mosses.

Regular readers will know that Sarah has been doing a Wildflowers correspondence course for most of this year. Well that’s done now and she’s moved on to Bryophytes, mosses to you and I. And though you might think of mosses as just the green stuff between cracks in the pavement, I certainly did, you’ll probably be realising by now that if they need studying on a correspondence course then there are probably hundreds of them. You’ll also, being no slouch on things in nature, assume that different varieties of them prefer different habitats. Which is exactly why Sarah and I are out here on a November Sunday afternoon. To see what mosses we can find in saltwater and wetland habitats, and also to have our version of a good time.

Wetlands first, pausing on our way in to join the RSPB, help support all this wild beauty and have a quick look at the birds.

Then it’s heads down, searching round the edges of the reserve for wetland mosses.

Star mosses, there are many varieties of this beauty
The keen student notes where we found them
While the sun makes its only appearance of the afternoon

A few more samples are also gathered and noted, before food and warm drinks are had watching chevron flights of geese arriving on the lakes. Then we cross over to the saltmarsh.

Finding some samples immediately

These being almost the last we will find today, as it turns out. But we walk out across the marsh path, almost into the Irish Sea. Because what’s a path for, if not to walk to the end of it?

Some sort of fungus?
There are more colours out here than you see from a distance
And we are almost in the sea now
Gateposts to the Irish Sea
Turning back, Southport in the rainy distance
Marsh stream
We are in the littoral, between the land and the sea here
And in someone’s some sort of economy. The heads and tails of soon to be Potted Shrimps
One last moss
On a coastal tree trunk
And time to go home

After a wet but special afternoon out, at what only looks like the bleak end of nowhere, but is really somewhere very special.

Published by Ronnie Hughes

Writing about life, Liverpool and anything else that interests me. As well as working with others to make the world a fairer and kinder place: http://asenseofplace.com.

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