Sunday, 5 May 2013

Ancient Woodland Flowers

Today I had my first glimpse of a small number of Bluebell growing in Strathclyde Park in Motherwell. These are beautiful blue flowers which are found in damp woodland areas. Other areas in Lanarkshire where Bluebells are found are at Chatelherault Country Park in Hamilton and Baron's Haugh in Motherwell.

Bluebells Very Common in the UK

Over 50% of the world's Bluebells are native to the UK.They tend to bloom in Scotland in May and provide a carpet of blue flowers which is quite spectacular.

The Bluebells I saw today covered a small area so I will wait for more Bluebells to come into bloom in the next few weeks to get a more spectacular view of them.

Bluebells grow in ancient woodland which is defined as woodland which has been in existence since 1750 in Scotland and 1600 in England.
Close-up of Bluebells
Small area with Bluebells
Ancient Woodland

Bluebells are a good indication that the area is ancient woodland. Since 1998, bluebells have been protected by the Wildlife and Countryside Act (WCA). It is illegal to collect wild bluebells and sell them for profit. 

Wild Garlic (Ramsons)

Wild Garlic is another common plant found at this time of year, also in damp woodland. It can be identified by the strong smell of garlic and has been popular as an ingredient in cooking since Richard Mabey first wrote about it in his book "Food for Free" in the 1972. 

I have the Collins Gem version of the book and have collected a few ingredients on my walks to use in cooking without poisoning myself!

Wild Garlic
Wild Garlic
Cuckoo Flower
The Cuckoo Flower

The Cuckoo Flower (also called Lady's Smock in reference to the Virgin Mary) is so called because its flowers come out at the same time of year as the cuckoo calls. Both the flowers and leaves are edible and contain large amounts of vitamin C. It is also a flower found in ancient woodland.


While looking at the Cuckoo Flowers we caught sight of two types of butterflies - Red Admiral and Orange-tipped. Unfortunately, they were flying too fast to get a photograph of them.

Our walk around Strathclyde Park and along the banks of the River Clyde did not produce any other interesting flowers.

Greylag Geese and Goslings

On the way back, there an open-air pop concert being held in the Park and the loud music did not deter the youngsters below from exploring the area. 

Greylag Geese and Goslings
The goslings above were swimming about in the water under the watchful eyes of both parents. They seem to nest in the small island which houses the observation tower used in sailing and rowing events on Strathclyde Loch.

Greylag Geese and Goslings
The geese did attract a lot of attention from adults and children and they did not seem afraid of people.

It had been a good day out. 

Further Information

Strathclyde Park: 

366 Hamilton Road
ML1 3ED 

Grid Reference: NS728567

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