Record breaking wildflower spotted in the Cotswolds
Whilst stretching his legs after the first day of his new job with the Cotswolds Conservation Board, Simon Smith spotted a rare wildflower which has broken the Gloucestershire record for late flowering.
The pasqueflower normally flowers March to May, but Simon spotted it last week while enjoying an evening walk at the Pasqueflower Nature Reserve, one of Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust’s Nature Reserves in the Cotswolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB).
Simon, who recently joined the Board from Wiltshire Wildlife Trust is a keen naturalist with a particular passion for botany, and immediately recognised the flower.
Simon said: "The pasqueflower is a beautiful plant and quite striking, I have visited this reserve many times to see it in the spring but was amazed to find it flowering in September! As it was such an unusual record I immediately informed Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust and the Gloucestershire Centre for Environmental Records. The Records Centre replied telling me it was the latest record they had for this species, a record breaker!
Linda Moore from Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust said:
“Obviously it’s not possible to draw any conclusions from one peculiar record but as we struggle to understand the impact of climate change on our wildlife, the study of natural events such as flowering times in relation to the seasons called phenology has become increasingly important. Everybody can help with this work by submitting their own sightings to the UK Phenology Network.”
The UK Phenology Network, run by the Woodland Trust and the Centre for Ecology & Hydrology, provides the opportunity to view data from the phenology database, for example, the first snowdrop flower seen, first cuckoo heard etc. Their website, available at: www.naturescalendar.org.uk, is the home for thousands of volunteers who record the signs of the season where they live.
Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust fact file
1. Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust is a countywide charity which manages over 60 nature reserves covering over 2,500 acres in addition to identifying key sites of nature importance. Our aim is to secure a natural environment which the people of Gloucestershire and visitors to the area can enjoy for generations to come. We have a local membership of over 23,000 people and work with 350 regular volunteers who give their time to support the Trust’s work. Membership of the Trust costs from just £2 a month. Join online at ww.gloucestershirewildlifetrust.co.uk or contact the Conservation Centre at Robinswood Hill Country Park in Gloucester on 01452 383333.
2. The Wildlife Trusts www.wildlifetrusts.org There are 47 Wildlife Trusts across the whole of the UK, the Isle of Man and Alderney. We are working for an environment rich in wildlife for everyone. With 765,000 members, we are the largest UK voluntary organisation dedicated to conserving the full range of the UK’s habitats and species, whether they be in the countryside, in cities or at sea. 135,000 of our members belong to our junior branch, Wildlife Watch. We manage 2,256 nature reserves covering more than 90,000 hectares; we stand up for wildlife; we inspire people about the natural world and we foster sustainable living.
Cotswolds AONB fact file
1. The Cotswolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) is looked after by the Cotswolds Conservation Board – an independent organisation with 37 members, 15 nominated by local authorities, 8 by parish councils and 14 appointed by Government.
2. The Government has designated Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONBs) and National Parks as our finest countryside and they are recognised as being of national importance.
3. With its rolling hills and valleys the Cotswolds is the third largest protected landscape in England and Wales after the Lake District and Snowdonia. It covers 2,038 square kilometres (790 square miles), stretching from Warwickshire and Worcestershire in the north, through Gloucestershire and Oxfordshire, down to Bath and Wiltshire in the south.
4. The Cotswolds AONB is the largest of the family of 49 AONBs in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.