After a walk in the park today I felt inspired to write a post on what I had seen. It feels as if the park has really blossomed over the last few weeks, no doubt helped by all the recent rain!
I headed first down the steep slope of Great Brow and towards the marshy area near the Bellway estate. The soft green hummocks of red fescue (Festuca rubra) and sheep’s fescue (Festuca ovina) grasses are peppered with swathes of the delicate white flowers of the heath bedstraw (Galium saxatile), a good indicator of acid grassland.
Honeysuckle (Lonicera) is creeping its way along the ground on the verge of bursting into flower alongside the tall spikes of common sorrel (Rumex acetosa).
Further along the slope is sheep’s sorrel (Rumex acetosella), a more delicate version of sorrel with tiny red flower spikes along with the feathery yellow flowers of tormentil (Potentilla erecta), both of which are found in acid conditions.
Walking down the footpath through the woodland the wonderful display of spring flowers is now over but the trees are in full leaf and the Oaks in particular are looking majestic. The young leaves still have their bright green hue which shine even on dull days. Following the path down past the lower copse you emerge onto the newly mown paths which sweep through the long grasses. These paths have made such a difference to the park and lead you on a winding journey past emerging flowers and spiky grasses, under towering trees and shaded glades. On Clapper Brow and in the area of grassland down towards Greenshaw Terrace, there are a number of determined plants fighting their way through the carpet of grasses which have dominated for so long. Meadow foxtail (Alopecurus pratensis) is a common grass in this area whose flower spikes look like fluffy tails, hence the name.
In flower at the moment is the greater bird’s foot trefoil (Lotus pedunculatus) which can be found dotted about amongst the delicate white flowers of the pignut (Conopodium majus) if you look carefully amongst the grasses.
Lastly and not least, the drifts of cow parsley (Anthriscus sylvestris) at the top of Clapper Brow are still looking stunning, creating a welcoming sight upon entering the park near the farm gate. The park does not have a long list of species and there is still a lot of work to do to improve the range and diversity of plants but some are re-emerging now the park is on the road to recovery. We have spotted clumps of Great burnet (Sanguisorba officinalis) on Clapper Brow, which, is a tall, native plant with burgundy coloured flowers. It is an indicator of hay meadows, which shows the determination of plants to survive despite the conditions. Look out for the striking flowers when they emerge later in the year. And things can only get better.
As you walk around the park look out for the flowers hiding amongst the grasses. If you see anything you want identifying then please take a photograph and email it us.