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A Riot of Colour Bursting Across The National Forest

Monday, 21st April 2008

The National Forest is predicting a riot of colour across the landscape this summer with wildflowers bursting into bloom from June onwards.

One of the most stunning wildflower meadows definitely worth a visit is at Billa Barra in Leicestershire. The wildflower 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 Forest 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 rare white clawed crayfish can be found in the stream.

Willesley Wood near Ashby de la Zouch also sees a rich colourful display of wildflowers every year.

From Saturday 14th June to Sunday 29th June 2008, Yoxall Lodge opens its gates for the public to enjoy its stunning summer wildflowers. Set in beautiful rolling parkland at Newchurch, Yoxall Lodge was once a forest lodge situated in the heart of the ancient Needwood Forest. The woodland walks reveal wonderful wild roses, fabulous foxgloves and magnificent martagon lilies. Even the humble bramble is smothered in blossom.

Wildflowers attract insects and other invertebrates, making wildflower 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. These are attracted to the wide variety of habitats created there 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 for 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.