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Wildflowers Splash a Burst of Colour across The National Forest

Wednesday, 18th May 2011

With the bluebells fading and snowdrops a distant memory, it is now the turn of the showy summer wildflowers to splash vivid bursts of colour across The National Forest landscape.

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

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 – all attracted to 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.

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 two 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 seeing some of these rare plants, the lucky visitor might catch a glimpse of a kingfisher darting over the stream, which is also home to the endangered white clawed crayfish. 

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

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.orgor click here to go to the relevant page on this website.