Marsden Old Quarry, Marsden

Coronation Meadow

I love the way the colours change through the season with the early bluish haze of the blue moor grass in April, giving way to yellow cowslips and hawkweeds, phasing into purple orchids and scabious as the summer moves on

- Clare Rawcliffe, Countryside Officer, South Tyneside Council

Marsden Old Quarry Nature Reserve is a patchwork site of a variety of habitats which include areas of lowland meadow and pasture, magnesian limestone grassland and some semi-improved neutral grassland. This site of approximately 6.3ha sees an abundance of wildflower species such as Kidney vetch, Hoary plantain and Common Bird's-foot Trefoil as well as Lady's Bedstraw and Bee orchids. 

Species to spot



  • Bee orchid

    Best time to see: June - July

    One of nature's mimics: this orchid looks like a bee visiting a flower, attracting other bees as they try to mate with it. Despite this clever strategy, in Britain the bee orchid is largely self-pollinating. Image © Plantlife/Tim Wilkins

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  • Bird’s-foot trefoil

    Best time to see: May-Sept.

    Also known as 'eggs and bacon', Bird's-foot trefoil is a good source of nectar for insects and forage for cattle. The 'bird's-foot' of its name refers to the shape of its seed pods.

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  • Kidney vetch

    Best time to see: May - Sept.

    Also known as 'Lady's fingers' this lemon-hued wild flower is the sole food supply of the caterpillar of Britain's smallest butterfly: the small blue. Image © Plantlife/Cath Shelswell

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