© Andrew Moon
On a very hot Sunday, while England were playing Panama in the World Cup and a Bug Hunt was in progress in the Aquadrome, eight people enjoyed the Wildflower walk.  Janet Ryall stepped in at the last minute as our leader and we cannot thank her enough for sharing her wealth of knowledge.   Sue Sanderson, who usually leads our Walks, had kindly walked me through the route ahead of Sunday and together we found at least 80 wildflowers and some grasses.
 
On the Sunday, armed with a list of these wildflowers, we walked the route, crossing off names and adding to the list as we went.  Hemp Agrimony, Creeping and Spear thistles, mares tail, nipplewort, yellow meadow vetchling, yarrow, purple tufted vetch, watermint, birdsfoot trefoil, nettles, to name but a few, were in abundance. 
 
One of our great finds was the Vipers bugloss (Echium vulgare) which was growing in just one place.  A species of flowering plant in the borage family, it is an upright plant with blue flower spikes and its spotted stem is thought to resemble a viper. It is found on chalk grassland, sand dunes, cliffs and banks. We found it in one of the fields opposite to Stocker's Lake.
 
Broad leaved helleborine (Epipactis helleborine) was another highlight of the walk.  It is a tall orchid found in woodland and scrub and has greenish, purple-tinged flowers that look a little 'drooping'. Strongly veined, oval leaves spiral around its stem.  It was found along the Stocker's Lake path, heading towards the small iron bridge and the fisherman’s car park.  Unfortunately it had not yet come into flower but I did return a month later to see it in flower. 
 
One more find to mention is Common Figwort (on the banks of Stocker's Lake).  It is a pretty perennial herb of the Scrophulariaceae or the figwort family.  It can grow quite tall (up to 80 cm) and the two lipped flowers (upper lobes are red/brown and the lower lobes are greenish) are relatively small and inconspicuous, and occur in small clusters.  Flowering time is June through to August.
 
Janet also helped us identify a few of the grasses found around Stockers Lake.  These included Cocksfoot, False brome, Pendulous sedge, Rye, Phalaris  and Yorkshire fog.
 
A full list of all the species we identified follows below. It was a most enjoyable afternoon.
 
Linda Ascroft
 
Full List of Wildflowers/Grasses identified
Balsam
Bedstraw, Common, Hedge, Lady’s
Birdsfoot trefoil
Black Horehound
Butterbur
Cleavers (goose grass)
Clematis    Travellers Joy
Comfrey,  Russian (purple), White  
Common fleabane
Crane’s bill , Dove’s foot,  Hedge, Meadow
Creeping buttercup
Creeping cinquefoil
Dark Mullein
Dittander or Peppergrass
Docks:   Burdock, Wood dock
Dogs Mercury 
Figwort
Foxglove
Goats rue
Gypsy wort
Hawkweed
Helleborine    (broad-leaved)
Hemlock water dropwort   (poisonous)
Hemp Agrimony
Herb Bennet  or Wood avens)
Herb Robert
Hogweed
Iris, Stinking
Ivy,  Ground
Knapweed
Mallow, Musk
Mare’s tail
Meadow sweet
Mugwort
Mustard, Hedge,   Garlic
Nightshade,   Bitter sweet, Enchanting
Nipplewort
Oxeye daisy
Ox tongue
Parsley,   Cow, Upright Hedge
Pineapple weed
Plantain,   Broad-leaved, Rib-leaved, Water,
Purple Loosestrife
Purple tufted vetch
Ragwort ,  Hairy Ragwort
Red bartsia
Sedge,   Large, Remote,  Small,
Self heal
Silverweed
Smooth Hawksbeard
Speedwell,   Germander, Thyme leaved
Stitchwort
Thistle,    Creeping,  Spear
Viper’s bugloss
Yarrow
Yellow meadow vetchling
Valerian,   Common
Water mint
White dead-nettle
Willow-herb,  Hairy,  Great
Woodruff
Woundwort,   Hedge, Marsh
 
Grasses : Cocksfoot  / False brome / Pendulous sedge / Phalaris / Rye / Yorkshire fog