What interesting wildflowers can we find in Tisbury and surrounding areas?
Photo: Haredene Wood (Julia Willcock), text by Debbie Carter
This is an amateur botanist’s take on the flowers from four habitat types (chalk downland, hay meadows, woodland and wetland) within reach of Tisbury and District.
Photos: Andrew Carter - Gentian, Pyramid Orchid & Devil's Bit Scabious
Chalk downland is an internationally rare habitat and we are very fortunate to have many areas with an abundance of chalk-loving plants. Old chalk grassland is one of the richest habitats in terms of botanical diversity and can contain as many as 45 species per square metre.
What wildflowers can I see in chalk grassland?
Field Scabious and Devil's Bit Scabious
Cowslip and Primroses
Horseshoe and Common Vetch, and Bird’s Eye Trefoil
Thyme, Basil Thyme, and Marjoram
Lady’s and Common Bedstraw
Harebell and Clustered Bellflower
White and Red Clover
And, if you are lucky, you might find Gentian flowers, both the Early and Autumn Gentian.
Where can I see chalk grassland wildflowers?
Very locally: Tisbury Jubilee Meadow (at the back of the Nadder Centre). Wildflowers are increasing yearly and include Pyramid and Bee Orchids, Broomrape, Vetches, Sainfoin, Ragwort, Oxeye Daisies and more.
Chalk Downlands near us (Ordinance Survey grid reference for access).
Shaftesbury Drove. North and South facing. White Sheet Hill (Grid Ref.: ST 933 240)
Swallowcliffe Down and Sutton Down (Grid Ref.: ST 990 268)
Ladydown, between Tisbury and Chilmark (Good for Bee Orchids) (Grid Ref.: ST 958 307)
Fovant Down (Grid Ref.: ST 002 266)
Melbury Down & Spread Eagle Hill, National Trust (Grid Ref.: ST 886 187)
Fontmell Down, National Trust (Grid Ref.: ST 128)
Hambledon Hill, National Trust (Grid Ref.: ST 838 128)
Win Green, National Trust. (Grid Ref.: ST 924 205)
Middleton Down, Wiltshire Wildlife Trust. (Grid Ref.: SU 043 252)
Photos: Andrew Carter - Butterfly Orchid, Snake's Head Fritillary & Bee Orchid
Traditional hay meadows have disappeared by over 90% due to changes in farming practice, use of artificial fertilisers, herbicides and insecticides.
What wildflowers can I see in hay meadows?
Snake Head Fritillaries
Where can I see hay meadow wildflowers?
We have two spectacular hay meadows within reach of Tisbury:
Clattinger Farm, Wiltshire Wildlife Trust (Grid Ref.: SU 012 933), accessed also from Lower Moor Farm (Grid Ref.: SU 007 939). Spectacular unimproved hay meadow full of orchids and Snake's Head Fritillaries, visit in late April for Fritillaries and June for orchids. Unsurprisingly it is an amazing site for butterflies and cuckoos.
The Kingcombe Centre, Dorset Wildlife Trust (Grid Ref.: SY 554 990). This reserve has been traditionally farmed for generations without use of artificial fertilisers, herbicides or pesticides.
Both have SSSI (Site of Special Scientific Interest) status and are amongs the best examples of unimproved, traditionally-managed hay meadows in UK.
Photos: Andrew Carter - Snowdrops, Cowslips & White Violets
What wildflowers can I see in woodland?
Greater Butterfly Orchid, Tway Blade, Common Spotted and Early Purple orchid
Woody, Deadly and Enchanter’s Nightshade
Greater and Lesser Stitchwort
Lesser and Greater Celandine
Dog and Sweet Violet
Lords and Ladies
Old Man’s Beard
Where can I see woodland wildflowers?
Great Ridge (Grid Ref.: ST 926 344 or ST 955 368)
Groveley Wood, Forestry Commission (Grid Ref.: SU 008 350)
Oysters Coppice, Wiltshire Wildlife Trust (Grid Ref.: ST 896 256)
Wardour (Grid Ref.: ST 938 264)
Chase Woods, Rushmore (Grid Ref.: ST 952 183)
Duncliffe, Woodland Trust (Grid Ref.: ST 826 222)
Garston Wood, RSPB (Grid Ref.: SU 003 194)
Bluebells in Wardour, Chase Woods, Duncliffe and Garston Wood.
Snowdrops in Wardour and on the banks near Pyt House Walled Garden.
Wild Daffodils in Oysters Coppice in March.
Photos: Andrew Carter - King Cups, Meadow Saxifrage & Southern Marsh Orchids