Nature Blog Network


The Plantlife wildflower survey is changing so it seems I will be saying goodbye to my three squares on Hailstorm Hill and receive a new km square. With a bit of luck this will include either Springhill itself or Saunder Height. Here’s hoping.

It is no surprise that nationally the most frequently surveyed squares were grassland, deciduous woodland and arable land. My three squares were grassland, hedgerow and bog (and oh boy is it boggy) which made for an interesting mix of flowers..

Nationally the most common species were nettle and bramble. I found neither of these on my squares. Cottongrass yes, lots of it.

Last year I surveyed the lane using the same methodology for counting but did not submit the results as it wasn’t an officially allocated square. There was a lack of both nettle and bramble on the lane itself. I didn’t formally survey the field (intending to do it this year but time escaped) but the presence of nettle there is obvious. No brambles, but lots of raspberries fighting for light with the nettles.

Plantlife point out that nettle and bramble are indicators of habitats in less than perfect condition. Nettles indicate too much nitrogen (reflecting the field’s former life as a paddock?) and, interestingly, ‘can alert us to potential issues within water courses too’. Whilst obvious, I’d never thought of that as the domestic water/sewerage pipelines for Springhill go through the field rather than along the road. I’ll have to have a proper look at their distribution in the summer.

An interesting addition to the lane’s flora this year though is the arrival of a cotoneaster. This looks established so I suspect was planted deliberately rather than escaped within garden waste (of which there is plenty dumped on the field and lane). Hopefully it will attract some winter thrushes, as numbers last year were dismal.