Blooming wildflowers

Sandscale Haws floral grassland

It’s flower time in the summer at Sandscale so come and see the season’s colour. Hidden amongst the dunes or in the grassland areas there are flowers galore.

The flowering year starts in March with the arrival of spring’s first flowers like the Colt’s-foot plant which has been given its name because of its large hoof-shaped leaves. The new season slowly bursts into life and other flowers follow such at the dune pansy which loves bare soil or short grassland. It looks like a tiny version of the pansy you would grow in your garden and is a real treat to come across when you wander through the dunes.

Dune pansy in flower
Sandscale Haws dune pansy
Dune pansy in flower

The sand dunes are also home to some weird and wonderful orchids which you can see from about June time. Pyramidal orchids which are a vibrant pink colour and shaped (almost) like a pyramid can grow in groups, adding real colour to the dunes and bee orchids whose flowers mimic bees, prefer the drier parts of the sand dunes.

Pyramidal orchid
Sandscale Haws Pyramidal orchid
Pyramidal orchid

Other orchids prefer the damp hollows (slacks) within the dunes. Coralroot Orchid can flower any time between late April and July but is usually at its best in late May. Marsh helleborine grows in similar areas in June whilst the dune and green-flowered helleborines grow on the edges of the slacks and nearby dunes in July and early August. 

Coralroot orchid Sandscale Haws

If you want to discover Sandscale’s orchids, here’s a list of what you might see and in which months. The location of some of the orchids can vary so it’s often best to come along to our ranger walks such as the coralroot orchid walks in May. Look at the What’s On section for dates of events.

Orchids at Sandscale


Early marsh orchid (flower late may to early july)
Common spotted orchid (flower late may to early july)
Northern marsh orchid (flower late may to early july)
Pyramidal orchid (flower mid june to late july)
Bee orchid (flower june to july)
Coralroot orchid (flower mid may to early june)
Dune helleborine (flower mid july to mid august)
Green-flowered helleborine (flower mid july to mid august)
Marsh helleborine (flower july)