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Wildflowers Paint a Pretty Picture across The National Forest

Tuesday, 2nd June 2009

From June onwards, one of the most stunning wildflower meadows is at Billa Barra in Leicestershire. The meadow was created in 2003 in partnership with Landlife, the national wildflower charity and Barlows, commercial interior design specialists. Visitors to the site, which is owned by Hinckley & Bosworth Borough Council, can enjoy lovely views over Leicestershire’s rolling landscape amid the wildflowers.

There are many beautiful sites within the ancient Charnwood area of The National Forest including the Leicestershire & Rutland Wildlife Trust’s Lea Meadows Nature Reserve.  In June many hundreds of common and heath-spotted orchids flower near to the stream at Lea Meadows.  These are just 2 of the 240 species of plants that have been recorded at this Reserve, which is one of the best places in the East Midlands for wildflowers.  As well as the rare plants, kingfishers are often spotted here skimming over the water and the stream is home to the endangered white clawed crayfish. 

Willesley Wood near Ashby de la Zouch also sees a colourful display of wildflowers every year.  Wildflowers attract insects and other invertebrates, making these meadows a rich habitat for wildlife.

Sence Valley Forest Park is home to a wonderful array of butterflies including Gatekeeper, Meadow Brown, Speckled Wood, Small Skipper, Green Veined White, Peacock and Small Tortoiseshell. These are attracted to the wide variety of habitats created at the Forest Park including its wildflower meadow.  Managed by the Forestry Commission, Sence Valley Forest Park is a wonderful example of how a disused opencast colliery can be transformed into a diverse wildlife haven.

The National Forest has produced a leaflet showing where to see wildlife across the Forest including wildflowers.  To get a copy of this or The National Forest and Beyond visitor guides, which contain ideas on where to go, what to see and places to stay in and around The National Forest, contact the National Forest Company on tel: 01283 551211, email: enquiries@nationalforest.org