Bell Sykes Farm Meadows, Slaidburn
Bell Sykes Meadows includes six unimproved flower-rich fields. Three of these include grasses such as meadow foxtail and sweet vernal grass along with moisture loving flowers like great burnet and meadowsweet. The upper three fields are home to the characteristic flowers of dry hay meadows in northern England. Meadow crane’s-bill and melancholy thistle grow together with a colourful mix of yellow rattle, eyebrights, pignut, buttercups and lady’s mantle.
Bell Sykes Meadows is one of the last unimproved flower-rich grasslands in this part of Lancashire. This vulnerable habitat has become increasingly scarce and has largely been destroyed in Lancashire through agricultural intensification.
Header image (above) © Jon Hickling
Species to spot
Best time to see: April - Aug.
The bulbous, blood-red heads of this member of the rose family often indicate a floodplain meadow. The name burnet comes from the Old French for 'dark brown' - the same source as 'brunette'.
Best time to see: All year
Curlew are very large, tall waders, about the same size as a female pheasant. The sound of the curlew's display call ('Cur-lee') is unmistakeable and can be heard from February through to July on its breeding grounds. Image (c) Damian Waters (www.drumimages.co.uk)
Best time to see: May - Sept.
A semi-parasitic flower, that feeds off nutrients in nearby grass roots. In doing so it helps restrict the vigorous grasses, allowing more delicate wildflowers to emerge. Its 'rattle' is from tiny seeds in their pods.
Best time to see: June - September
The eyebright is a beauty in miniature, with distinctive lobed petals and often, a bright yellow centre. So-called because it was traditionally used to treat eye infections.
Image by Trevor Dines, Plantlife
Bell Sykes Farm