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04 Lovers Walk (27.6.17)

Posted 27/6/2017

 

 From a distance, this may not seem a likely setting for a species-rich walk, yet the last 120 metres leading up to the Loch Fad road has more than 57 different flowers and grasses all within a few feet of the footpath.  The walk starts at the top end of the High Street near the UCB church (NS086637) and, after traversing the Kirk Dam, follows the line of one of the Thom’s cuts up to the road leading to Loch Fad.

Although the whole walk (under a mile) has abundant scenic and historical interest, botanically I shall focus on the final section.  (It is, of course, quite possible to make the walk into a longer, circular one by turning left on reaching the road and returning to the starting point via the Loch Fad causeway).

White is the dominant floral colour and the last few metres provides a good opportunity to compare and contrast three of the most common umbellifers (think ‘umbrella’!) at this time of year.  The largest and most abundant is Hemlock Water-dropwort , a poisonous plant with its large flowerheads almost globular in shape; the next largest, Hogweed, has a much flatter flowerhead; thirdly, around the gate, there is a patch of Ground-elder, sometimes a troublesome weed in gardens.  Look carefully at the leaves of these three species; they are all quite distinct.

Hemlock Water-dropwortHemlock Water-dropwort

HogweedHogweed

Ground-elderGround-elder 

 

 

 

Elder flowers are fully developed about now, whereas the creamy heads of Meadowsweet are only just beginning to appear.  In amongst the dominant taller flowers and grasses, you can find Common Mouse-ear, Marsh Bedstraw and Lesser Stitchwort.

Mimulus (‘Monkey Flower’) is a well-established garden escape which provides much of the yellow colour, but note also the occasional examples of Corn Marigold and, just coming into flower, Greater Birds-foot-trefoil and Yellow Rattle.

The tallest grass that you see is Reed Canary-grass; other tall grasses are Cocksfoot and False Oat-grass.  There are extensive areas of Yorkshire-fog with its distinctive often pinkish-purple spikelets. 

A full list of all the species I noted on this section of the walk is as follows:

Amphibious Bistort Persicaria amphibia
Annual Meadow-grass Poa annua
Ash Fraxinus excelsior
Bramble Rubus fruticosus agg.
Broad-leaved Willowherb Epilobium montanum
Bush Vetch Vicia sepium
Cleavers Galium aparine
Cocksfoot Dactylis glomerata
Colt's-foot Tussilago farfara
Common Comfrey Symphytum officinale
Common Couch Elytrigia repens
Common Mouse-ear Cerastium fontanum
Common Nettle Urtica dioica
Common Sorrel Rumex acetosa
Corn Marigold Glebionis segetum
Creeping Buttercup Ranunculus repens
Creeping Thistle Cirsium arvense
Crested Dog's-tail Cynosurus cristatus
Daisy Bellis perennis
Dandelion Taraxacum officinale agg.
Dog's Mercury Mercurialis perennis
Elder Sambucus nigra
False Oat-grass Arrhenatherum elatius
Foxglove Digitalis purpurea
Gorse Ulex europaeus
Greater Bird's-foot-trefoil Lotus pedunculatus
Greater Plantain Plantago major
Hawthorn Crataegus monogyna
Hogweed Heracleum spondylium
Ivy Hedera helix
Knapweed Centaurea nigra
Lesser Stitchwort Stellaria graminea
Lesser Water-parsnip Berula erecta
Marsh Bedstraw Galium palustre
Marsh Thistle Cirsium palustre
Meadow Buttercup Ranunculus acris
Meadow Vetchling Lathyrus pratensis
Meadowsweet Filipendula ulmaria
Monkeyflower Mimulus guttatus
Perennial Rye-grass Lolium perenne
Pineappleweed Matricaria discoidea
Ragged-robin Silene flos-cuculi
Ragwort Senecio jacobaea
Red Campion Silene dioica
Red Clover Trifolium pratense
Reed Canary-grass Phalaris arundinacea
Ribwort Plantain Plantago lanceolata
Rough Meadow-grass Poa trivialis
Silverweed Potentilla anserina
Smooth Sow-thistle  Sonchus oleraceus 
Soft Rush Juncus effusus
Sweet Vernal-grass Anthoxanthum odoratum
Tufted Hair-grass Deschampsia caespitosa
Tufted Vetch Vicia cracca
White Clover Trifolium repens
Yellow Rattle Rhinanthus minor
Yorkshire Fog Holcus lanatus
Wild Angelica Angelica sylvestris