Wild daffodils (credit Emma Bradshaw)
In early spring the bright yellow nodding heads of daffodils start to appear along roadside verges, in parks and on roundabouts. But for real carpets of yellow flowers you need to head to the few remaining woods and meadows where wild daffodils grow in glorious profusion. Several Wildlife Trusts manage nature reserves where wild daffodils grow and here we list a few, including several in 'the Golden Triangle' - an area of north west Gloucestershire famous for its displays of wild daffodils.
Llandefaelog Wood (Brecknock Wildlife Trust)
A good-sized patch of wild daffodils grow in Llandefaelog Wood nature reserve, near Brecon, although they are not normally in flower until late March.
Dunsford Nature Reserve (Devon Wildlife Trust)
Dunsford nature reserve is one of the best places to see daffodils in South West England. Coach loads of people used to come to the reserve to pick daffodils and the site became so popular that signs had to be put up asking people not pick daffodils. But Dunsford is still a great place to see wild daffodils today.
Howe Ridding Wood Nature Reserve (Cumbria Wildlife Trust)
Howe Ridding Wood is the most northerly part of Witherslack Woods, a large expanse of ancient woodland on the western side of Whitbarrow Scar. Much of the nature reserve overlies the same Carboniferous limestone which forms the Scar. In spring see wild daffodil and bluebell, damson and apple blossom and pearl bordered fritillary butterfly.
George's Hayes (Staffordshire Wildlife Trust)
Consisting of two seperate woodland blocks, George's Hayes is an ancient woodland in staffordshire and is best known for its native wild daffodils.
Oysters Coppice Nature Reserve (Wiltshire Wildlife Trust)
Dainty wild daffodils grow in this ancient woodland nature reserve overlooking the Vale of Wardour, near Shaftesbury. Other woodland wildflowers making this nature reserve particularly beautiful during the spring. include, bluebells, wood anemones, primroses and wood sorrel brighten- which together brighten the woodland floor. Also keep your eyes peeled for the interestingly shaped moschatel– otherwise known as the ‘town hall clock’.
Stocking Springs Wood (Herts and Middlesex Wildlife Trust)
Nestled amongst the wooded estates of central Hertfordshire, this small hornbeam wood 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.
Lea and Pagets Wood (Herefordshire Wildlife Trust)
Wild Daffodils are not restricted to Wordsworth’s Lake District; Herefordshire holds its own treasures… Lea and Pagets Wood - one of the finest, ancient, semi-natural broad-leaved woodlands left in the Wye valley - where golden clumps of wild daffodils contrast with the bluebells carpeting the woodland floor.Carpets of bluebells with wood anemone, primrose and yellow archangel also make a spectacular sight in spring. Birdlife is abundant with all three species of woodpecker, while the wood is an excellent place for mammals, including dormouse, woodmouse, yellow-necked mouse and bank vole.
Wessington Pasture (Herefordshire Wildlife Trust)
The Herefordshire borders walked by the Dymock Poets are renowned for their daffodils. When the M50 motorway was constructed, wild daffodil bulbs were saved from the site and transplanted to Wessington Pasture, one of our nature reserves on the Woolhope Dome. A number of other interesting plants found here include dwarf thistle, adder's tongue, and autumn ladies tresses.
Quebb Corner (Herefordshire Wildlife Trust)
A further site is the meadow at Quebb Corner, a SSSI reserve, where wild daffodils can be found growing beside the large, old hedgerows as well as other woodland flora, suggesting the hedge may be a remnant of an ancient wood. The drier areas of the meadow are characterised by crested dog's-tail grass with large amounts of common knapweed. Two scarcer species present are pale sedge and greater butterfly orchid.
Betty Daw's Wood (Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust)
Betty Daw's Wood nature reserve is an ancient woodland, and is widely known for its spectacular display of wild daffodils. It also contains a wealth of other plants and animals. Old hazel coppice dominates the shrub layer, provided a good habitat for the common dormouse, wood anemone, bittervetch, wood-sorrel and bluebell.
Gwen & Vera's Fields (Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust)
Gwen & Vera's Fields nature reserve is less than a mile away from Betty Daw's nature reserve, and although very small, this is managed to conserve one of the few remaining wild daffodil meadows in north west Gloucestershire.
Vell Mill (Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust)
Vell Mill nature reserve is predominantly managed as a wild daffodil meadow, although other species such as cowslip, hoary plantain, common dog-violet and meadow vetchling can also be found here.
Coed y Bwl (Wildlife Trust of South and West Wales)
Coed y Bwl is famous for its daffodil displays. Last year the wood and its volunteers were highly commended in the Vale of Glamorgan Biodiversity Partnership’s Awards for Wildlife. The prime conservation target has been to save Coed-y-Bwl’s locally-rare wild daffodil population in the wake of Dutch elm disease which ravaged the wood over thirty years ago.
Ketford Banks (Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust)
Ketford Banks nature reserve is a small and steep, sandy bank, famous for its display of wild daffodils. The Trust acquired the site in 2010 and much removal of scrubby species including bracken has been undertaken to encourage the wild daffodils to thrive.
Harvest Hill (Warwickshire Wildlife Trust)
Harvest Hill is a charming meadow near the village of Allesley, noted for its beautiful display of wild daffodils. With the onset of spring comes a carpet of yellow heads raising their faces to the sun; a sight that would cheer anyone out of the cold of winter.
The meadow is seasonally grazed by a small flock of Hebridian sheep in order to maintain the meadow and ensure the survival of the stunning wild daffodils.
The Isles of Scilly (Scilly Wildlife Trust)
The climate of Scilly is influenced by the gulf stream, and as a result it is often much milder than on mainland UK. The Isles of Scilly have a long history of growing Narcissi for commercial purposes, which originates from people noticing that daffodils came into flower much sooner than they did throughout the rest of the UK, allowing them to be picked and sold to those who wanted them on the mainland.
It’s quite difficult to walk around much of Scilly without seeing one of several different varieties that are grown on the islands, having seeded outside the confines of the flower farms. As 64% of the islands are cared for by the Isles of Scilly Wildlife Trust it’s common to find them on land that is managed by the team, and are a true sign that spring is well on it’s way.
For more ideas of how to get out and experience this golden spectacle, click here.