March 1 2015 Latest news:
Alex Hurrell, Reporter
Saturday, May 3, 2014
Spring may be bursting out all over across Norfolk, with bluebells at their peak, and hawthorn about to blossom.
Norfolk is jam-packed with wonderful sites to see and enjoy wildflowers, plants and trees. Here is a small selection:
■ Thetford Forest – Britain’s largest lowland pine forest.
How Hill – woods, marshes, fens, and expanses of open water.
■ Wayland Wood – hazel, oak, downy birch, bird-cherry, sallow, ash, hornbeam and field maple, plus more than 125 species of flowering plants and autumn fungi.
■ Mousehold Heath in Norwich – nearly 200 acres of heath and woodland with many spring flowers on show.
■ Foxley Wood – Norfolk’s largest remaining ancient woodland. The bluebell carpet is a huge draw but the wood is also home to more than 350 other flowering plant species.
■ Ringstead Down – A steep-sided valley which is one of the largest remaining areas of chalk grassland in the county. Between June and September watch out for the strongly-scented, lemon-yellow flowers of the common rock-rose.
■ Roydon Common and Grimston Warren – a joy all year round but the greatest spectacle occurs in August and early September when the heather is in flower.
But fewer than a quarter of us seem able to recognise the region’s most common wildflowers, plants and trees.
A snapshot EDP survey found that only a fifth of those taking part scored 100pc when asked to identify photographs of eight everyday species.
All those who took the test knew the bluebell – but cowslips proved the most difficult, with only 32pc correctly identifying them. Most wrongly stated they were either buttercups or primroses.
Almost three-quarters (72pc) were able to name samphire – perhaps not surprising as the edible sea marsh plant is a Norfolk delicacy – while 60pc identified the foxglove. Almost all those taking part were able to identify a fern (92pc), although one suggested it was a Christmas tree.
Beech tree leaves baffled more than half of those surveyed, with several guessing they were birch. Only 40pc correctly answered beech, though 84pc got silver birch right.
Some of the younger people taking part – aged in their 20s – were able to correctly identify acorns on the photo of oak branches, but could not name the tree on which they grew.
Some 88pc, however, did correctly spot it was an oak tree.
Inie Watts was one of those who got full marks on the quiz, conducted in Cromer. Mrs Watts, 62, of Grange Avenue, Overstrand, was not surprised at the gaps in younger people’s knowledge.
“People now are either working, or indoors using technology, or they go out to somewhere organised, costing money,” she said.
“They don’t just go out and wander in the country, showing their children the wonders of the earth.”
Tony Leech, chairman of the Norfolk and Norwich Naturalists’ Society, urged everyone to keep their eyes open as they drove or walked through Norfolk this spring.
“The verges on the country lanes, and even the main roads, at this time of year are absolutely fantastic,” he said.
“Huge clumps of dandelion are now over, but greater stitchwort is just coming into full flower, there’s red campion and hawthorn is just about to blossom.”
The EDP survey, of 25 people, comes as a poll of more than 2,000 for BBC Gardeners’ World magazine found that most struggled to recognise common trees, shrubs and wildflowers.
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