Plenty of wildlife makes the Skyline its home.
June and July are brilliant months to explore the wildflowers around the bath skyline. There are different areas of limestone grassland which have different types of wildflowers depending on where they are and how they are managed.
Traditional hay meadows:
Smallcombe Vale and Bathwick Fields are cut for hay around mid-July then cattle are brought in to graze. The wildflowers here are fantastic, particularly Smallcombe vale which has a large abundance of yellow rattle (Rhinanthus minor). This yellow rattle is a brilliant plant to have in wildflower meadows as it is a parasitic plant which takes nutrients from the grass. This means the grass does not grow as big and leaves more light and space for wildflowers to grow with less competition. In July, the yellow rattle goes to seed and makes a brilliant rattling sound when you shake it.
Other wildflowers found in this area include knapweed, oxeye daisies, pyramidal orchids, buttercups and many more.
Another lovely place for wildflowers is Rainbow Wood Fields. This area is a pasture and is grazed throughout the year from April to October. The fields are very steep and contain lots of yellow meadow ant hills. This creates a different habitat to our meadows and results in different wildflowers. Here if you are lucky you may spot pyramidal, common spotted and even bee orchid. Other wildflowers include ladies bedstraw, bird’s foot trefoil and meadow vetch.
Invertebrate life is abundant among the grass and wildflowers in the summer, look out for butterflies and a whole host of other insects.
Bats are also active on the Skyline over the summer, particularly around Sham Castle Down, Bathampton Wood and Bushey Norwood. We are running a bat walk in September to explore and hear the secret world of one of Britain's rarest groups of mammals.