Lancashire Wildlife Trust site completely destroyed.
The reserve, near Morecambe, is one of the county’s most important raised bogs and is of particular importance for its rare plant species.
The boardwalk section - part of a restoration project funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund and Lancashire Environmental Fund - had been built by staff and volunteers in 2005 to improve public access onto the edge of the bog, particularly during winter months when the woodland areas can be flooded.
It was constructed from recycled plastic to reduce ongoing maintenance costs and for its improved non-slip properties and has worn extremely well in comparison to a wood alternative. However, the fire has reduced one section of it to melted plastic and charred peat.
“Thankfully, it seems the blaze was brought under control quickly enough to prevent it burning too far down into the peat," says Reuben Neville from the Trust. “This incident comes after four kissing gates were vandalised on the reserve in the last week, so obviously we are concerned about this vandalism and extremely disappointed that the boardwalk has been destroyed in this manner.
“As a charity the Trust has limited resources and incidents such as these mean that we have less capacity to undertake other important conservation work.”
• Trust web site: www.lancswt.org.uk