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15 Tramway Track (26.6.19)

Posted 26/6/2019

Greenwood's CrossingGreenwood's Crossing


Until the 1930s, a tramway running from Rothesay enabled visitors to journey from their arrival point on the east side of the island to Ettrick Bay on the west side with its splendid beach.  Much of this route is now a popular walk.  There's a café at Ettrick Bay and, during the summer months, a bus service enables this two and a half mile walk to be made in one direction only, if desired.  The short, wooded section of the walk at the Port Bannatyne end was described in Walk 2;  the current walk covers the major section of the route, from Greenwood’s Crossing (by St Colmac’s Church GR NS056673) to Ettrick Bay.

The track is host to a good range of wild flowers.  As usual, I’ve listed below many of the ones that are now in flower, though of course as the season progresses, other can be added to the list. (If you’re on the walk around the end of July, there some banks of raspberries in the wild to enjoy!)  

On the way, approaching the old smiddyOn the way, approaching the old smiddy


A word about two flower types that can sometimes be tricky to identify. Firstly, ‘dandelion type’ yellow flowers;  I’ll mention three.  Nipplewort is the easiest to differentiate, with its relatively small flowers and leafy, much-branched stem. It can grow quite tall (see the specimen behind the wooden rails in the first photo above) and it will be seen throughout the walk.  On the other hand, the leaves of Smooth Hawk’s-beard and Cat’s-ear are at the base of the plant (Hawk’s-beard normally also has a few leaves clasping the stem). Cat’s-ear stems are usually less branched, have several small ‘bracts’ (tiny leaves) on them and their flowers are often larger than those of the other two.








The second flower types are the umbellifers, ie plants with ‘umbels’, rather like the spokes of an umbrella and usually members of the carrot family; the photo below shows the umbel of Hogweed. Ground elder, sometimes a problem weed for gardeners, is the umbellifer you will most often encounter along the path, but you can also see Hemlock Water-dropwort and Hogweed.



 June is a great time to look at grass species and this walk is a good opportunity to see many of the most common grasses in flower.  See if you can distinguish Cocksfoot, False Oat-grass, Yorkshire Fog, Meadow Foxtail, Soft Brome, Perennial Rye-grass and Common Couch.

Nearing the end of the track, Arran in the distanceNearing the end of the track, Arran in the distance


The list:

Bramble Rubus fruticosus agg.
Broad-leaved Dock Rumex obtusifolius
Broad-leaved Willowherb Epilobium montanum
Broom Cytisus scoparius
Burnet Rose Rosa spinosissima
Bush Vetch Vicia sepium
Cat's-ear Hypochaeris radicata
Cleavers Galium aparine
Common Figwort Scrophularia nodosa
Common Mouse-ear Cerastium fontanum
Common Nettle Urtica dioica
Common Vetch Vicia sativa
Confused Bridewort Spiraea x pseudosalicifolia
Creeping Buttercup Ranunculus repens
Creeping Thistle Cirsium arvense
Daisy Bellis perennis
Dog Rose Rosa canina
Dotted Loosestrife Lysimachia punctata
Elder Sambucus nigra
Field Forget-me-not Myosotis arvensis
Foxglove Digitalis purpurea
Garlic Mustard Alliaria petiolata
Germander Speedwell Veronica chamaedrys
Ground-elder Aegopodium podagraria
Groundsel Senecio vulgaris
Hedge Woundwort Stachys sylvatica
Hemlock Water-dropwort Oenanthe crocata
Herb Robert Geranium robertianum
Hogweed Heracleum spondylium
Honeysuckle Lonicera periclymenum
Lesser Stitchwort Stellaria graminea
Lesser Yellow-trefoil Trifolium dubium
Marsh Yellow-cress Rorippa palustris
Meadow Vetchling Lathyrus pratensis
Nipplewort Lapsana communis
Ox-eye Daisy Leucanthemum vulgare
Pendulous Sedge Carex pendula
Pineappleweed Matricaria discoidea
Pink Purslane Claytonia sibirica
Prickly Sowthistle Sonchus asper
Red Campion Silene dioica
Red Clover Trifolium pratense
Ribwort Plantain Plantago lanceolata
Rosebay Willowherb Chamerion angustifolium
Shepherd's-purse Capsella bursa-pastoris
Smooth Hawk's-beard Crepis capillaris
Snowberry Symphoricarpos albus
Tufted Vetch Vicia cracca
White Clover Trifolium repens
Yarrow Achillea millefolium