Wild daffodils set to put on annual golden display

Sunday 31st March 2013

Daffodils cpt Neil AldridgeDaffodils cpt Neil Aldridge

Displays of gold are setting alight our woods and meadows, as hordes of daffodils show their true colours at The Wildlife Trusts’ nature reserves all over the UK.

The golden flower of the delicate wild daffodil was once a common sight in the South West especially.  But it is now under threat from habitat fragmentation, neglect of habitats and critically, hybridisation with larger cultivated species of daffodil more readily available in garden centres which have been planted in the countryside.

This is one of nature’s most beautiful and understated spectacles

Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust’s Gwen & Vera’s Fields, Betty Daw’s Wood and Ketford Banks nature reserves, near Newent, are carpeted in yellow from mid-late March each year as the wild daffodil flowers.

“This is one of nature’s most beautiful and understated spectacles,
said Dr. Colin Studholme, Director of Policy and Research at Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust.

“The ‘golden triangle,’ named after its fields and verges of native wild daffodils draws hundreds of visitors every year from all over the country, as Gloucestershire has a strong but isolated population.”

Devon Wildlife Trust’s Dunsford nature reserve has the biggest display of daffodils in the South West.  Coach loads of people used to come to pick daffodils and the area became so popular that signs had to be put up specifically asking people not to pick them.  Thankfully this helped conserve the site, which still thrives today.

Wiltshire Wildlife Trust’s Oysters Coppice nature reserve is an ancient woodland overlooking the Vale of Wardour, near Shaftesbury, which swarms with daffodils every year.  Other flowers of interest here include the rare opposite leaved golden saxifrage and the town clock flower.

Brecknock Wildlife Trust’s Llandefaelog Wood is a charming small area of woodland renowned for its floral display.  In March to April the path along the southern side of the reserve is surrounded by beautiful wild daffodils.  Later on in May, the floor of the reserve is carpeted with the blues and purples of bluebells with their wonderful scent.

Coed-y-Bwl, managed by The Wildlife Trust of South and West Wales, sprouted wild daffodils on St. David’s Day – and they are bursting forth in profusion for what appears to be a really spectacular display across the six-acre woodland reserve. Amongst them is a small display of Tenby daffodils – slightly taller than their wild cousins, with a deeper yellow trumpet and petals.

Herts and Middlesex Wildlife Trust’s Stocking Springs Wood is a small hornbeam wood nestled amongst the wooded estates of central Hertfordshire.  It is a beautiful example of traditional coppice management and hosts a wonderful display of wild daffodils in the spring, along with bluebells, wood anemones and wood violets.  Oak trees amongst the hornbeam provide nesting for great spotted woodpeckers, nuthatches and treecreepers.

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