Illey Pastures, Dudley
Illey Pastures is one of the richest grassland floras in the West Midlands, and it is of particular importance since this habitat has become very scarce nationally. These two fields of species-rich, unimproved, neutral grassland were declared a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) in 1989.
Green hay from Illey Pastures is packed with orchid spikes, delicate grasses, yellow rattle, knapweed and bird’s foot trefoil. The Wildlife Trust for Birmingham and the Black Country aims to recreate this beautiful mix of wildflowers at its Moseley Bog & Joy’s Wood Nature Reserve.
Species to spot
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 - Sept
A thistle-like plant also known as 'black knapweed', although its flowers are actually bright pink. It is a popular source of nectar for the Red Admiral, Meadow Brown, Peacock, Painted Lady and many other butterflies.