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They form the largest complex of lowland raised bog in Britain covering an area of 3318 hectares (8201 acres). A large area of the abandoned peat workings is managed as a National Reserve by Natural England and includes parts of Crowle Moor, owned and managed by The Lincolnshire Trust for nature conservation.
Peat cutting on Thorne and Hatfield Moors has now ceased and work is being carried out to restore the old workings.
Once used by horses and later by small trains pulling peat-laden wagons, the old tramways are built of lime-rich ballast and clinker; here southern marsh orchid, twayblade, greater yellow rattle and bird's-foot trefoil can be found.
The varied habitat of the Moors also supports a huge number of different invertebrates, with over 3000 recorded species, of which some are nationally rare. The area is a stronghold for the large heath butterfly, whose caterpillars feed on the cottongrass.
Breeding birds include common teal, common snipe, whinchat and tree pipit. The rufous nightingale breeds in small numbers at its most northerly stronghold in Britain, whilst the size of the European nightjar population is of international importance. Wintering birds include hen harrier, merlin and short-eared owl.
Reptiles such as adder, grass snake and common lizard are present. Roe deer, fox, brown hare and water vole are some of the mammals which occur here.
The aim of conservation management for the site is to retain suitable conditions for the development of raised bog and its vegetation. To maintain a high water table, drainage channels from the old peat cuttings have been blocked with peat dams. Water is also pumped into some recently worked out cuttings. On Crowle Moor, extensive areas have been cleared of invasive birch scrub and are now grazed by the Trust's flock of Hebridean sheep.
The town of Thorne is well served by rail having two stations, north and south. Moorends is served by bus from various stops in Thorne.
Thorne and Moorends have the usual facilities such as shops, cafes, pubs and toilets.
Crowle Moor is reached from an unclassified road running north-west from Crowle village. There are two parts to the reserve, each having a parking area and a waymarked walk. Public access is restricted to these walks. The large village of Crowle had limited refreshment and toilet facilities. It is served by rail and bus links. For further information click « here »