A peat bog is mainly water with decayed plant matter rotting at the bottom from the marsh water plants, and the bogs we know today frequently started to form a couple of thousand years after the last ice age. They often occur a hollow in the landscape, left in the rock from the retreating ice, a depression in the rock. On a quite co-incidental but fortuitous note, one of these plants which proliferated around the Sefton coast was called Myrica Gale, more commonly known as ‘Bog Myrtle’. It is quite amusing ( if you are easily amused as I am) to speculate that this plant could also quite probably have been one of the first ‘occupants’ on what is now Myrtle Street.
The shelf of land which held the Moss Lake fields is one such rock hollow, a sandstone based dip which would have filled with water drained from the higher land of Edge Hill and Smithdown after the ice age. Or rather, after ‘one of the’ ice ages. The peat bog of the Moss Lake could conceivably have started its existence not just thousands, but millions of years ago.
Peat bogs grow at an incredibly slow rate, over thousands of years, but they were also an incredibly source of energy, fuel and building materials. As peat and turf are known to have been used by the people of Britain and Ireland for this purpose for thousands of years, the Moss Lake probably has a very ancient history of usage, and would have been recognised as a valuable resource by any nearby settlers. We don’t know how far back this specific land might have been used, but the ancient settlements of Smithdown ( Esmedun), Wavertree ( Woertreo) and Toxteth (Stochestede), long pre-dating the existence of Liverpool, would undoubtedly have found the peat, turf and fresh water invaluable. For all we can ever know, these settlements may even have to come into being because of the nearness of the peat bog that would become Abercromby Square.