The time is right to explore your local wildflower meadows

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Yorkshire Wildlife Trust is advising people to get outdoors and explore as part of their ‘30 Days Wild’ campaign to get us all reacquainted with nature.

At this time of year there are plenty of prime opportunities to spot butterflies flitting among the meadow wildflowers.

Beautiful common spotted orchids, marsh marigold and old man’s beard, Britain’s only wild clematis, are just some of the flowers seen in Yorkshire Wildlife Trust nature reserves during the summer season, all waiting to be discovered. Jim Horsfall, Nature Reserve Officer at Yorkshire Wildlife Trust recommends two top sites:

“Late June at Wheldrake Ings, near York, sees the meadows at their best with crimson-coloured great burnet and cream sprays of meadowsweet. Whereas Maltby Low Common, near Doncaster, boasts over 400 species of insects including many butterflies such as brimstone, orange-tip, small copper, wall and heath – a treat not to be missed.”

Yorkshire Wildlife Trust carefully manages their nature reserves in such a way as to maximise the diversity on the sites and so encourage a greater number of wildflowers and insects like butterflies. Methods including grazing by native breeds of sheep and cattle, cutting the meadows at the right time of year and coppicing woodlands, which all contribute to this diversity and is made possible by the support received from players of People’s Postcode Lottery and Yorkshire Wildlife Trust members.

For example over in the west, Ledston Luck in Leeds has sections of scrub plants like bramble removed by hand, as these compete with the more delicate wildflowers. Over the last couple of years this treatment has resulted in a grassland carpeted by wildflowers including several orchids. Whereas in the east, grazing of the chalkland cliffs at Flamborough encourages bright yellow bird’s-foot trefoil to bloom, whilst delicate pink sea thrift lines the edges.

For those wanting to dig a little deeper there are plenty of Trust events taking place over the next few months, providing an opportunity to learn more about our county’s flowers and butterflies in their natural habitat. For beginners to more experienced wildlife spotters, these days out will help you identify many species while walking around a beautiful setting and enjoying the great outdoors. Why not consider:

Our Meadow Wildlife Walk – Saturday, June 13 at Wheldrake Ings Nature Reserve, York or at Maltby Low Common Nature Reserve, Doncaster

Dragonflies and Damsels – Sunday, June 14 at BRAND NEW Skerne Wetlands Nature Reserve, Driffield (special event as not yet open to public)

Wildflower Walk – Saturday, June 20at Barlow Common Nature Reserve, Selby

Wildflower and Butterfly Walk – Sunday, July 5 at Brockadale Nature Reserve near Pontefract

Dragonflies and Flowers – Monday, July 6 at Staveley Nature Reserve near Harrogate

Avenues Open Gardens – Sunday, July 12 at Pearson Park Wildlife Garden, Hull

See the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust website Yorkshire Wildlife Trust for full details and to book a place online. Or to find out more about the 30 Days Wild campaign and see how you can involved see Wildlife Trust