The Parish Field, Cowbridge
"Just sit on the field bench in late August. To your front is a marvellous view of Merthyr Mawr, and around you there is likely to be a noisy flock of goldfinches feeding on the seeds of knapweed"
This 3 acre field is in Craig Penllyn, a small village to the north of the Vale of Glamorgan. It has a remarkable diversity of wild flowers but when horse grazing was stopped in the 1990s, the biodiversity of the site began to deteriorate as scrub moved in. In 2002 the local residents assocation, who lease the site from the Community Council, took advice and began a plan of action to save their meadow. This community led project has involved local residents, a scout group, a college, conservation volunteers, Glamorgan Heritage Coast project and Countryside Council for Wales (now Natural Resources Wales)
Following scrub clearance and management through hay cutting, many meadow plants have recolonised here which is highlighted by the bright summer displays of betony, selfheal, common centaury and slender st. johns wort. In addition to this, over 90 plant species have appeared that were not previously recorded there such as pignut, common twayblade and adders tongue fern.
Header image above © Scott Hand, Natural Resources Wales
Species to spot
Best time to see: April - May
Easy to spot with its yellow cup-shaped flowers nodding at the end of tall stems. The name cowslip allegedly derives from ‘cowslup' - an old term for cowpat - since where the cow 'slupped' this flower was often found.
Best time to see: June - Sept.
A pink pin-cushion-like flower which our ancestors believed cured scabies (hence "scabious"). It has short, stubby roots which - according to legend - were bitten off by the Devil to prevent its healing powers.