Salad Burnet, Wild Thyme, Horseshoe Vetch, Mousear Hawkweed

June has been a glorious month for the local wild flowers. It seems no matter where you have been, there is an abundance of colour whether hillsides, riverbanks, moorland, farmer’s fields or local reserves. There are many Buttercup fields.


At the beginning of June the botany group explored the area around the Water Sinks car park above Malham and near the Tarn. This proved to be a very interesting meeting. Firstly we looked at the two pools near the cattle grid where amidst the more colourful Marsh Marigold, several Sedges and a Spike-rush were found. Returning to the car park we headed for a small hillock where there was an abundance of Mountain Everlasting, a plant that in the past we have only seen in single numbers.

Mountain Everlasting

There were also many of the more common plants, Tormentil, Mousear Hawkweed, Mountain Pansy, Birdsfoot Trefoil and the blue of Common Milkwort. This area was a good place for lunch which was enjoyed before walking across the pasture to the track to the Field Study Centre, and near the shore of the Tarn.  The track goes between the marshy area, rather dry in the current warm weather and where again there were lovely plants to identify. The Birdseye Primrose was there on both sides in good numbers, and the insectiverous Common Butterwort with its lime green basal rosette and delicate blue flower was noted.  A few Bogbean were seen in a pool and the leaves of Marsh Lousewort. A competition ensued to decide who had been the first to see the Northern Marsh Orchid which was just beginning to flower. All in all a most enjoyable day.

Bogbean Ian Hughes

Northern Marsh Orchid IH

A week later another enjoyable botany morning was enjoyed by a small group along the Board Walk not so far away from the above. Particularly exciting were the Globe Flowers in good numbers, the masses of Bogbean, and swathes of Ragged Robin. Nearing the end of the walk several spikes of the short Common Wintergreen were spotted.


On the 22nd of the month eleven members met for the walk up Dowber Gill from the top end of Kettlewell and sixty species were recorded   Like many of our local hillsides at this time, the predominant flower was the yellow Rockrose.

Limestone Bedstraw

Nearer the path the white Limestone Bedstraw and the pink Wild Thyme made a beautiful contrast. There was enthusiasm for the different grasses – Sheep’s Fescue, Crested Dogstail, False oat Grass, Rough Meadow Grass, Yorkshire Fog amd Cocksfoot. First sightings of Eyebright, Slender St Johns’wort, Flea Sedge, Horseshoe Vetch and Fragrant Orchid were seen and a few spikes of Common Spotted Orchid. After lunch some members went a little further to see three ferns amongs some rocks – Brittle Bladder, Hartstongue and Maidenhair Spleenwort.

Brittle Bladder and Hartstongue Ferns

Then on the way home a short visit to the SSSI at Kilnsey Park to see the Marsh Orchids – Early Marsh, Narrow-leaved Marsh, Common Spotted and undoubtedly some hybrids between them. It had been a very good  day in sunshine, and typical flowers of the Yorkshire Dales.

Narrow-leaved Marsh Orchids

It was interesting to read that the hay meadows on the old hospital grounds in Grassington were featured in the country diary of the Guardian newspaper on the 21st of the month, a site we have been to several times as part of our botany programme.

In two weeks time the group will be looking at the hay meadows along the riverside at Yockenthaite

Christine Bell

Photos Christine Bell except where noted IH Ian Hughes

Common Butterwort IH