Munsley Bog

Munsley Bog is a small wetland site and a Site of Interest for Nature Conservation (SINC) with very high historic nature conservation value much declined in recent years through lack of management. The site is split into 3 ownerships only one of which is publicly accessible: a plot owned by Godshill Parish Council. This part has been managed by Gift to Nature.

Munsley Bog has the most fantastic stories to tell. Not just the usual about the wetland wildlife, birds of prey etc, but something even more amazing! In the 1970’s pollen cores were taken here and the information yielded has helped our understanding of how the Island’s landscape and land-use has changed from the Late Mesolithic to the early 20th Century.

Our desire is to improve the site for both nature and people, and we will be seeking funding to help make this happen.

What to look and listen for …

This is one of the few sites on the Isle of Wight where you will find typical bog habitat, supporting plants like bog myrtle, cross–leaved heath, heath spotted orchid and marsh pennywort. We are also looking for signs of sundew and cotton grass here – both used to be present but had disappeared.

The two main species of trees here are oak and willow. Look out for the small watercourse, which boarders the east edge of this site. It is a tributary of the East Yar River. There is a change of vegetation at the centre of the bog, this is where a spring is, and there are water-loving plants where it flows. Watch the seeds fly from the sausage-like heads of Great Reedmace, sometimes called ‘bulrush’. You might spot the torpedo-shaped privet hawk-moth.

Listen to the rooks, which nest in the oak trees at the edge of the bog. Hear the wind in the willows, and the rushes. Because of the close proximity to the village, you will hear a lot of garden birds.

… and smell and touch

If you can, kneel down on the board walk and look at the intricate plant and insect communities that live in the bog. These vary depending on how wet the bog is. 

Most of the year the bracken will tickle your ankles as you cross the boardwalk. We do try and keep it in check, and the bog is cut and raked once a year.

Nature at home and activities on site

We have produced a super Colouring Sheet for you to download and complete at home. We have also produced an I Spy Sheet and Map for you to print at home, or download to your phone and take to the site. And become a Bug Bunch Ranger. All these activities and resources can be found here.

Our interpretation board on site includes a sensory trail to help you get the most from your voice.

Managing the site

The bog is managed in sections, the area owned by Godshill Parish Council who kindly contribute towards management costs.  is visited annually and we work to maintain the open species-rich wetland which produces sheets of orchids in the summer. We have cleared bramble, bracken and willow, in order to make room for smaller wetland plants. We have also repaired dams in order to maintain water tables, again to help these types of plants flourish. The cut willow was reused to create a woven willow fence to replace a broken section of the existing cleft-oak fencing.

We are working with Natural England to devise a plan which will improve the condition of the bog. However we still need to find a sponsor to improve the access for people and inteperpretation.

How to get there

On foot and bike –  The bog is a short walk from the end of May Close, Godshill along footpath GL25. There are no cycle racks.

By bus – Dubbers or Yarborough Close stop (Routes 2/3). (Bus Timetables)

By car – On street parking is available in surrounding streets. Please park considerately. PO38 3HB for your sat nav.

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Access is via grass paths and a boardwalk. There are steps to the boardwalk on one side of the bog, and at the other side the stile is not passable for people with dogs. The nearest public toilets are in the main car park in the village of Godshill (PO38 3JD)  what3words ///totals.paintings.divisions. These are about 10 minutes flat walk away along the roads, be careful of traffic. There are many refreshment choices within Godshill village.

We have written an Access Statement for this site. This includes mobility and sensory issues and opportunities. We welcome feedback from users.

We have produced an audible description creating a mind’s eye view of the area to allow a visually impaired person to enter with confidence. It will describe the entrance, the size of the area, where to find further information or help and any major obstacles or features. Information has been produced by visually impaired people ensuring it is useful and accurate. Access the description by scanning the QR code to the left of this text on your phone or tablet, or by clicking here.

Get Involved

There are various ways you can help improve and maintain our sites. We rely on volunteers to help with many tasks on our sites and also need people who are happy to regular visit the site be our “eyes and ears”, this means we can respond much quicker to issues. Our shop raises money to support our work and needs a team of volunteers. Or maybe you would like to help us with events. Find out more here.

You can also help by becoming one of our regular supporters. Even giving a few pounds each month can make a real difference, with your donation being invested into site management and improvement work to benefit site visitors and look after our precious wildlife. Sign up here.