A wildflower wonderland on the Whitehaven coast

Common spotted orchid and other wildflowers in long grass

We’re not going to promise a carpet, but visit the Whitehaven coast during the summer, look closely and you’ll find a wide range of flowers.

There are a wide range of vetches on site: tufted, common, meadow and kidney vetch. There’s also locally rare grass vetchling with a delicate pink flower. If you look closely you’ll see bird's foot trefoil, hairy tare, black medic and red and white clover, all of which fix nitrogen from the air to enrich the ground. As we write, there's a sea of meadow buttercup waving in the wind with cat's ear, self heal, daisy and yarrow growing underneath.

Long winter, brief summer

From a slow beginning in March, with coltsfoot’s yellow blooms, to the rapid explosion of colour and life in June, when marsh and bee orchids add flecks of pink and purple, to a steady demise in August of a golden brown hue, every week is different.
Later on you will find meadow cranesbill, silverweed, wild carrot, red bartsia, lady’s bedstraw and heather flowering, with many more besides.

Parasitic plants

Eyebright and yellow rattle are both semi-parasitic plants which help weaken the grasses and allow more light for wild flowers; though not widespread, they are both present. Then the big bold forms of common knapweed, lesser burdock, viper’s bugloss and meadowsweet emerge.
As part of our management we try to remove thistles, docks and ragwort, as they would dominate, drawing nutrients from deeper in the soil, and move the site towards woodland. However we are bound to miss some and these plants are honey pots for many insects.

Visit while you can

The display is stunning but it doesn’t last long – just a few short weeks in June and July. Visit this beautiful stretch of coast while it’s there. Oh, and bring your wildflower identification book.
More information on visiting the Whitehaven coast.