Cadishead and Little Woolden cover 115 hectares, most of which, until 2012, was a peat extraction site, with extraction only completely ceasing in 2017. Much of the site has been highly degraded, stripped of vegetation and most of its peat, leaving only a minimal layer. It will require persistent restoration efforts, mainly by volunteers, to retain water on the site and restore a cover of vegetation. A public footpath runs along the perimeter of most of Little Woolden Moss.
Volunteers and staff wrote an in-depth look at the first 10 years of work in Little Woolden which was published in ‘North West Geography’ in 2021. You can download it on their website.
Astley Moss SSSI (35 hectares) has been owned and managed by LWT for several decades and is slowly recovering from extensive drainage, regular burning and afforestation. Although it has areas that are recovering well and growing carpets of the iconic Sphagnum mosses, the site needs requires regular maintenance to keep invasive scrub under control, and work to re-introduce plants currently missing from the site, to improve its biodiversity and provide more habitat for a range of highly vulnerable peatland wildlife. All planting on the sites is in line with Natural England guidelines. There is currently no public access to this site.