Wild Britain in Bloom

In a vain attempt to prevent my already degenerate carcass from degenerating still further, I've once again taken to trotting around Mossy Lea, a pretty little valley just round the corner from the house. It's not that far - about 4k, but with a reasonable amount of climbing - 360ft or so. I'd noticed the unusual amount of wild-flowers that seemed to be around this year, so I took my camera on one of my circumnavigations last week - the fact that it also gave me a convenient excuse to keep stopping to take photos had nothing to do with it ;-)

Shire Hill Rhododendron ponticum Native Bluebell
Looking down from Shire Hill over Old Glossop. My house is in amongst those on the left of the picture. This 130ft, 20% climb is right the start . My legs are aching just thinking about it. At dusk this is a good place to see the Pipistrelle bats that I've mentioned earlier. Rhododendron ponticum in full bloom. Although this looks pretty when it is in flower, it is an introduced species and has a pernicious impact on native fauna and flora - in fact active efforts are being made to eradicate it from Shire Hill. This on the other hand is a native species, Hyacinthoides non scripta or the Native Bluebell, dappled shade under deciduous trees being a favoured habitat.
Native Bluebell Yellowslacks Hawthorn
The Native Bluebell is also under threat from the introduced Spanish Bluebell Hyacinthoides hispanica with which it freely hybridises. These however are the real McCoy. The high point of the round, 790ft ASL. The valley in the distance is Yellowslacks, with Mossy Lea Farm in the valley below. The hillside above the wall on the right is Shelf Benches, an abandoned quarry that has been entirely reclaimed by nature. The valley contains quite a number of Hawthorn trees, Crataegus monogyna. I've never seen them carrying this much blossom before - the smell as you pass them is quite overpowering, especially on a warm day.
Mossy Lea Hawthorn Broom
Looking down Mossy Lea towards Glossop, with Shire Hill on the left. Edge Plantation, the hillside on the right hand side of the valley with the track curving up it has just been planted with native broadleaved trees - something to benefit future generations. This Hawthorn tree is one of my kid's favourites due to the odd lean that it has. Hawthorn is very common in the UK - nearly all of the hedges that are such a key feature of the countryside are Hawthorn. Another common native plant, Cytisus scoparius or Broom, so named because that's what its twigs and branches used to be used for. (Elaine, if your broomstick is looking a little bare I can send you some ;-)

Categories : Peak District

Re: Wild Britain in Bloom

How terribly thoughful of you but we use birch and willow to beat ourselves with in the sauna, Alan, not brooms. :) Nice rhodos you have there. Things really haven't come into bloom yet as the early flowering trees passed that phase rather quickly and the summer blooms have yet to arrive. The forest floor is littered with miniature white anemones, glorious golden ranunculus fallax, and various types of violets. It's interesting that many of the native flowers in Finland are yellow but with the abundance of dandelions everywhere this year, it could be named the unofficial national flower. :)