Pilch Field is a SSSI managed by BBOWT with a rich mosaic of habitats, including 200+ plants. 27 members of the Society gathered on a lovely warm evening for our walk was led by Ann Biggins, Roy Maycock & Jenny Mercer.
Jenny has kindly provided this overview of Pilch Field:
Plants with specific requirements for calcareous/basic conditions or acidic conditions or neutral conditions have found their niches.
Care needs to be taken in waterlogged and damp areas as it’s all too easy to sink deeply into the very soft silts .
On the well drained ridge and furrow areas there were fine displays of Green Winged Orchids which need neutral and well drained conditions, and many cowslips.
Early Marsh Orchids in small numbers have appeared recently in damper areas.
The atypical fern Adders Tongue is locally abundant especially in the furrows and other damp areas.
Other plants of note in mid May are the Marsh Valerian, Purple Moor-grass, cuckoo flower, marsh-marigold, ladies bedstraw, meadow vetchling, salad burnet, birds foot trefoil, green winged orchid and common Milkwort (Milkwort only in Little Pilch – through gate in smaller field).
Later in the year the fields are very colourful – highlights being rest harrow, scabious and daisy.
Please note cattle are used to manage the fields from June to November. do not take dogs into the fields as cows and their calves are usually present.
Roy has kindly provided a list of plants which were seen in flower during the walk:
|Anacamptis morio||Green-winged Orchid|
|Anthoxanthum odoratum||Sweet Vernal-grass|
|Anthriscus sylvestris||Cow Parsley|
|Avenula pratensis||Meadow Oat-grass|
|Carex flacca||Glaucous Sedge|
|Car ex panicea||Carnation Sedge|
|Dactylorhiza incarnata||Early Marsh-orchid|
|Luzula campestris||Field Wood-rush|
|Polygala vulgaris||Common Milkwort|
|Poterium sanguisorba||Salad Burnet|
|Ranunculus acris||Meadow Buttercup|
|Rumex acetosa||Common Sorrel|
|Valeriana dioica||Marsh Valerian|
Click on any of the pictures for a larger image.
Pictures from top to bottom:
Discrete sign for Pilch Field Nature Reserve
Jenny leading the group around one of the two fields
A group of Green Winged Orchids
Close up of a Green Winged Orchid
Drinker Moth Caterpillar
One of the many clumps of cowslips
Photos by Peter Hassett