Ranger recommendation

Spring flowers in the meadows on the Bath Skyline

The ranger team will be sharing their top tips for exploring the Skyline each month

Spring flowers have burst from the ground on the ancient herb-rich limestone pastures that make the Bath Skyline such a special place.

If you wander around Rainbow Wood fields, adjacent to the Skyline path above Prior Park Landscape Garden, you’ll find a sea of beautiful, pale yellow cowslips. Germander speedwell cloaks the ant-hills in vivid blue, while ribwort plantain stands proudly on its slender, silky stems.

You will also discover this habitat in abundance on Sham Castle Down, which lies on the slopes below Bathwick Wood where the Skyline walk takes you from North road to Sham Castle.

Cowslip Primula veris

According to legend, the keys to Heaven were dropped by St Peter when he learned that a duplicate set had been made. The keys landed somewhere in Northern Europe, and the first cowslip sprang from the spot. The flowers resemble the saints bunch of keys – a name used locally in Somerset. Insects with long tongues, such as bees and moths, visit the flowers, seeking nectar from the base of the petal tube.

A plant of calcareous meadows and pastures throughout Britain, cowslips are an important part of the biodiversity of these rare habitats.