Therfield Heath, Royston
Therfield Heath is renowned for its rare Pasqueflowers (see 'Species to spot' below) - wild flower enthusiasts travel from miles around to catch them in bloom at Easter time. At the last count there were over 60,000 - a true wildlife spectacle. Many other chalk downland flowers can be found here too and butterflies are plentiful - it is said that one species or another can be seen flying on the heath in just about every month of the year!
The meadow is managed by the local community and contains a golf course - a great example of different land uses working together in harmony.
How to get there
From Royston take the A505 bypass towards Baldock. Take the first exit at roundabout. Take right turn signposted Therfield. Park in layby a little way along this road, on the left. Cross the road and walk through the metal gate. The meadow is a 5 minute walk along the woodland trail.
Species to spot
Best time to see: Blooms around Easter: hence the name "Pasque" (meaning "like Paschal", of Easter)
Often found on the undisturbed soil of ancient barrows - legend says it sprang from the blood of dead Vikings! Image © Francis Watkins
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: All year
Male skylarks can be spotted rising almost vertically from the ground, hovering and singing from a great height before parachuting back down to earth. Despite their aerial activities, skylarks nest on the ground, laying three to four eggs. Image (c) Stefan Johansson
Conservators of Therfield Heath and Green