Welcome to the Durham Botany Group
For anyone interested in local botany
In the Meantime
Given that we can now walk in outdoor places and in small groups (6 max) , the Botany Group committee is suggesting that you may wish to visit DWT reserves over the coming weeks and report back your findings and/or send pictures of plants that you were unable to fully identify.
The idea is that, each week, we focus on one reserve, and share information on what is being found. We would like to encourage people who are interested in seeing wildflowers and learning a little more about them. On Monday 22nd June there will be a free training session for beginners on how to identify common wildflowers – online, using zoom.
Here is a list of reserves to visit (or others that you choose) in June;
Monday 1st Hedleyhope Fell
Monday 8th Low Barns
Monday 15th Herrington Hill
Monday 22nd Rainton Meadows
Monday 29th Bishop Middleton Quarry
So, this week, we are looking at wildflowers growing at Hedleyhope Fell.
Heathland plant life flourishes on the fell, including bell heather, cross-leaved heath, crowberry, bilberry, cotton grass and several rarer plants such as petty whin, stags-horn club moss and adder’s tongue fern.
The heather provides an impressive display of colour in late summer and autumn.
Hedleyhope Fell is the Trust’s largest nature reserve and is well served with car parks and footpaths. The Fell is a common and is grazed by common holder’s livestock year round.
Walking from the top car park (alongside the road to Tow Law from Cornsey Colliery) is on made-up paths that undulate a bit, but the going is fairly easy. The Fell slopes down towards a stream, and some other parts are boggy – so read the reserve information fully to choose a route suitable for you.
So, if you visit Hedleyhope Fell (no car-share though, no toilets, no café, 6 max if in a group), please post your finds here, either as a list, or with accompanying photos. We will be happy to try and ID any that you are not sure of, but it will be interesting to see what you find. This photo was taken a few weeks ago at the eastern end of the fell, and shows the Blackthorn in flower.
Click here for information on this site, https://durhamwt.com/reserves/hedleyhope-fell-nature-reserve/
Take care, and stay safe.
Flora of our Nature Reserves
Hedleyhope Fell w/c 1st June 2020
by Camilla Lauren-Maatta
I really liked the idea of doing a botanic visit to a nature reserve every Monday. Not sure that I'll have the time to do this every week, but we did have a lovely walk round Hedleyhope Fell - don't think I've ever been there in such warm weather and with no wind. Below are our findings. I thought I knew cross-leaved heath but it took me a while to figure out what it was (I hope I'm right?) as it wasn't in full flower and I've never really looked properly at its glandular hairs before.
Flora of of Nature Reserves
Low Barns DWT Nature Reserve w/c 8th June 2020
by Julie Stobbs
A few photos from a visit to Low Barns this morning, the first (for us) common spotted orchids of the year plus wood cranesbill, monkey flower, burnet rose with ox eye daisies and guelder rose. We certainly didn't see an otter (as had been seen yesterday on the reserve) but did see a fox on the road shortly before we crossed the A689 heading home. It disappeared quickly into the undergrowth at the side of the road.
Lesley Hodgson added about her visit on the 10th, Spent a couple of hours at Low Barns this morning, it rained constantly, so photography was difficult, but the flowers were still looking gorgeous. [photos 6-8]. Unfortunately I forgot to take a weather writer, so didn't make a list - not that 2 hours would have been long enough! The hides are locked, but we still saw some nice birds, including a female goosander and a grey wagtail.
Durham Botany Group welcomes anyone with an interest in the local flora of County Durham, whether you are a complete beginner or an experienced botanist. Our aim is to learn, educate and support. Through regular field trips, teaching sessions and surveys we work to conserve the natural diversity of plants in our area. And it's not just flowers, we explore everything including trees, fungus, lichen, mosses, grasses and sedges.
Aims of the Group
The aims of the group are to:
Provide an interest in, and enjoyment of, all aspects of flora, within and beyond the Durham Wildlife Trust area.
Develop and share botanical knowledge and understanding
Continually improve identification, survey and recording skills.
Contribute to conservation through field visits, surveys and recording.
Encourage and support young people to learn about and enjoy wild plants.
Support the wider aims and activities of Durham Wildlife Trust.
Photographs of plants taken by DWTBG members.
Photographs of lichens taken by DWTBG members.
Photographs of Mosses & Liverworts taken by DWTBG members.
Photographs of Fungi by DWT Botany Group members
Links to organisations,identification guides, downloads and lots more
The Wild Flower Society
The Wild Flower Society is the only national society created specifically for amateur botanists and wild flower lovers in the UK. We are a friendly group who like to meet up throughout the summer months to see and photograph British wild plants in their natural habitats. The Society has been running for over a century and proudly boasts a number of very eminent botanists and academics amongst our ranks with at least fourteen members having plants named after them!
NAME THAT PLANT
Easy identification for beginners
look out for more events, next one in July on both websites
Durham Wildlife Trust botany group – free help, events, etc – sign up for weekly email news and video clips will be hosted here
Lots of guidance on beginning in botany – books, lenses, ID keys, apps, etc
similar to above
similar but more of a botanical conservation campaigning body
kit and books (hand lens at £4 or much more)
kit and books
FSC guide to grassland plants 1 (and 2) - £4 each &P+P from FSC or to save postage cost buy from Rainton Meadows Visitor Centre . But serach the FSC site for other guides that may interest you
‘The brilliant wildflowers of County Durham’s limestone floral calendar guide’ – free from Rainton Meadows Visitor Centre (but limited stock)
Plants shown - video clips will be hosted on https://www.durhambotany.org.uk