Posted by: swinemoor | May 12, 2014

Spring has Sprung

Finally the Swifts have arrived! It seems to have taken an eternity this year but they have arrived just in time to take advantage of the insects that accompany the cattle, which have also now finally made an appearance.

Whilst the winter in Beverley was mild (very mild!) this year, Spring on Westwood was not all that early. Indeed the Swallows, whilst being reported down South as early as February, only finally made an appearance over Westwood on the 21st April: precisely the same day as in 2012 and 2013. That said they were seen in Tickton a week earlier. Other things too are either on time or late. The Blackthorn was late, flowering last month and, even yet, the Hawthorn is not fully in bloom here, although it is elsewhere in Yorkshire.


Our native Bluebell (Hyacinthoides non-scripta) in bloom showing its classic one sided, drooping clusters of blue flowers.

May is wonderful month with the eponymous flowers of the Hawthorn and the the fuzz of the Cow Parsley gracing the hedges of all our commons. However, secreted away here and there, there are hidden gems, such as the Goldilocks Buttercup. This is a rarer, more elusive woodland buttercup that is only found in Newbiggin Pits, unlike its more showy relatives which are colouring Westwood yellow at this moment. Another species indicative of woodlands found on Westwood is the Bluebell. This is a relict species from the time when Westwood was wooded and here and there it has clung on in amongst the thick grass swards of Westwood because they have never been ploughed. You will not find it everywhere but there areas, especially where the land is sloping, that this classic species of English woodlands can be found growing in a Yorkshire pasture!

Other woodland relict species, such as the yellow Lesser Celandine and the white Wood Anemone can also be found on Westwood, betraying its woodland past, although these have now passed their best this year. Next time you are out for a walk on any of our commons, take the time to look at what’s under your feet, you may be in for a pleasant, and colourful surprise.

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