What grows on the Bath Skyline

Ferns in winter

Bath Skyline is home to a very specific type of grassland. We care for its conservation throughout the year, supporting beautiful wildflowers and grassland.

There are two broad types of grassland field: pasture and meadow. 

Pasture is grazed by sheep or cows throughout the growing season, while meadow is cut for hay in late summer followed by aftermath grazing in the autumn. 

In this country we have lost over 95% of our herb-rich wildflower grasslands since the 1930’s due to changes in the way we farm.

The Skyline is home to a small but incredible part of what remains, and we carry out much work in winter to increase the area of grassland lost to scrub encroachment. We aim to continue the ancient cycles of hay-cutting and carefully timed grazing.

Rainbow Wood fields, Smallcombe Vale, Bathwick fields, Sham Castle Down, Bushey Norwood and Longwood field, as well as the pasture in Prior Park are our really special grasslands, with the pollen and nectar rich habitat supported by a great mix of woodands and scrub. 

The herb-rich calcareous grassland supports a huge variety of wild flowers which can be seen mainly in spring and summer.

These include:

  • salad burnet

  • bird’s-foot trefoil

  • yellow rattle

  • dwarf thistle

  • meadow buttercup

  • creeping buttercup

  • bulbous buttercup

  • common cat’s-ear

  • ox-eye daisy

  • hoary plantain

  • mouse-eared hawkweed

  • common knapweed

  • fairy flax

  • self-heal

  • burnet saxifrage

  • cowslip

  • and lady’s bedstraw. 

Grasses and sedges characteristic of old pastures include yellow oat brome, quaking grass, erect brome, sheep’s fescue, crested dog’s tail and glaucous sedge. 

 

Winter trees on Bath Skyline

An in-depth look at the trees on the Skyline

Find out more about the trees on the Skyline in an in-depth article written by our Skyline ranger.