Sneezewort on Outwood Common

A wildflower meadow with sneezewort at Outwood Common

Outwood Common used to be mown like a lawn so people could enjoy it for games and picnics. Around 18 years ago we reduced the area we mowed allowing a good proportion to become wild flower meadow.

At first, out of the short mown turf rose a few knapweeds and the odd bit of vetch. Then came one or two common spotted orchids, with recent counts reaching over 100 of them. After ten years, the common was buzzing with butterflies, bees and grasshoppers. In 2019, we recorded for the first time sneezewort, a very scarce wild flower within the ever expanding species of meadow flowers to be now found on the common.

 

Andrew Wright, Countryside Manager says; “Our grasslands are some of our most important habitats for wildlife. We’ve lost over 95% of our species rich wild flower meadows since the Second World War so it's incredibly important to do what we can to support them. A variety of flowers and grasses gives our insects and small mammals a home, which feeds the whole ecosystem. Since Outwood Common started growing stunning arrays of flowers, it's alive with wildlife from the smallest bugs to our larger birds of prey. If you mow a lawn you can do your bit to help wildlife in the same way. Consider allowing a section of your lawn to become wild flower meadow. They are a joy to behold on a nice summers' day.”

Gatekeeper - Pyronia tithonus

Butterflies found on grassland and meadows

Keeping your eyes open even when walking through meadows and grasslands can reap rewards. These butterflies may be smaller and less colourful but they are still delightful as they cavort along side the paths and between brambles and wildflowers.