Staff from Natural England and Natural Resources Wales say that an oak cut down in the Fenn’s Wood area of the Marches Mosses was a mistake.

Residents and walkers around the Mosses have taken to social media to complain about the removal of conifers, which they say has deprived nesting birds of a home, with one posting pictures of the fallen oak tree.

But Mike Crawshaw, from Natural England, says the work being carried out is integral to the longer-term goal of restoring the bog at the Whixall Mosses, but admitted he understood the concerns of residents and says they are aiming to make it up to them.

"Natural Resources Wales are currently harvesting the conifer plantations, part of a crop planted in the 1960s, on the Fenn’s Wood area of the Marches Mosses which straddle the English Welsh border," he said.

"The presence of the commercial forest was harmful to the moss and the bog habitat. The conifers contributed to the drying out of the bog through drainage which caused the peat layer to degrade. Peat bogs are capable of absorbing up to 30 times more carbon than the equivalent area of trees.

"But this ability to absorb carbon depends upon the health of the peat bog, and that is why the Marches Mosses BogLIFE Project is restoring the bog habitat.

"Unfortunately, in the course of this work a mature oak was mistakenly removed by contractors.

"We are currently investigated how this happened so that lessons can be learned in order to prevent a re-occurrence.

"To help compensate in some way for this regrettable loss we plan to plant more oak trees on nearby land.

"The harvesting plan for the plantation area is designed to ensure that broad-leaved trees present on the edges of the moss are retained to provide a connected line of buffer edge trees. This will be in excess of three kilometres long and will serve as a corridor for various wildlife species."

Many users commented on a post showing the felled tree by Ian Rowley, hoping to find out why the trees have been cut.

Most replies expressed disgust at the need to cut the trees down while Mr Rowley stated that he felt it was to bring back something that required more rain than currently falls.