A walk in the meadow to see wildflower wonders

Rare species in an Askrigg hay meadow: Maggie Townsend, Jo Jones and Cathy Gosling

By Betsy Everett

There will be another chance to see the wildflowers of Wensleydale at their summer best next week on a guided walk with plant expert Deborah Millward.

Last year Deborah, a botanist and plant ecologist, led a ramble through Askrigg Bottoms hay meadow, identifying a range of sometimes rare and threatened species.

On Tuesday, June 19, the venue will be the Ballowfields Local Nature Reserve (LNR), a road-side site between Askrigg and Carperby.
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Owned and managed by the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority, Eller Beck runs through the grassland that has built up on the lead-mining soil at Ballowfields. Metallophytes such as thrift, pyrenean scurvygrass and spring sandwort can be seen on the lead mining spoil close to the beck: meadowsweet can be seen in the wetter marshy areas and devil’s-bit scabious and harebell in some of the drier areas. 

Balllowfields LNR is part of the larger Ox Close Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI).

Tuesday’s walk is part of the Yorebridge Sport and Leisure Centre’s summer Learning Curve programme and the cost of £10 includes afternoon tea. Meet at the centre in Askrigg, next to the school, at 1.30pm for car sharing. Contact Jan Hale   E-mail admin@yorebridge-sport.co.uk.

For more details of the Ballowfields nature reserve visit http://www.natureinthedales.org.uk/get-involved/places-to-see-wildlife/ballowfield-lnr.

Hay meadows in the Dales are at their best in June.