Trip to Pilch Field 12May15

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:

Ajuga reptans Bugle
Anacamptis morio Green-winged Orchid
Anthoxanthum odoratum Sweet Vernal-grass
Anthriscus sylvestris Cow Parsley
Avenula pratensis Meadow Oat-grass
Caltha palustris Marsh-marigold
Cardamine pratensis Cuckooflower
Carex flacca Glaucous Sedge
Car ex panicea Carnation Sedge
Conopodium majus Pignut
Crataegus monogya Hawthorn
Dactylorhiza incarnata Early Marsh-orchid
Luzula campestris Field Wood-rush
Polygala vulgaris Common Milkwort
Poterium sanguisorba Salad Burnet
Primula veris Cowslip
Ranunculus acris Meadow Buttercup
Rumex acetosa Common Sorrel
Taraxacum agg. Dandelion(s)
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
Salad Burnet
Drinker Moth Caterpillar
One of the many clumps of cowslips

Photos by Peter Hassett

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