I recently signed up to take part in the Wildflowers Count organised by Plantlife. After registering online, I received a Survey Pack in the post, which included a map of my allocated 1km square and a wildflower identification booklet which had photographs of the 99 wildflowers they want you to look out for. This was really informative and useful. You really don't have to be an expert to do this and Plantlife make it very easy for you to take part.
The idea is to plot a 1km route through the middle of your square, preferably on a north-south line. My square had a convenient footpath running through it, which then joined a lane. When I first looked at the map in the pack I had no idea where my allocated square was, as it was in an area I was unfamiliar with even though it was only a few miles away. But it did make it really interesting, exploring a new area and I was glad of the reason to discover some new hills!
My route generally followed field boundaries and hedgerows, going through small patches of woodland and following a lane with a ditch. Luckily the footpath was well signed, but we did have to negotiate a very inquisitive herd of cows!
The grassland was generally devoid of wildflowers. The hedgerows and verges proved the most prolific.
|Meadowsweet : Brooklime Great Plantain : Hemlock|
|Spear Thistle : Burdock : Lesser Knapweed|
|Meadow Brown : Skipper : Shaded Broad-bar : Silver Y|
It was a great morning for all of us, the boys racing across the field on the way home. They were generally very patient waiting for mum with her clipboard, constantly stopping staring down at the ground! I'm looking forward to going back to 'my square' in the years to come, recording the wildflowers and seeing if there are any changes. Next year I shall do it in the spring and again in the summer to get a better picture of what's growing there throughout the season.
So thank you Plantlife for giving us an interesting dimension to our Sunday morning walk! Thank you too to wildflower enthusiast Celia for telling me about the survey (she also writes a great blog over at Purple Podded Peas).
Please excuse the poor photo quality, as I was too busy concentrating on spotting wildflowers and butterflies rather than photographing them!