Yesterday was National Meadows Day, an annual day on which to celebrate the wonders of wildflower meadows. This event falls on or around the first Saturday of July, which this year was the 4th. What better thing to do on such a day than to visit a meadow? It was rather dull and grey, and lacking in the light that so inspires me, but I snapped a few pictures, regardless.
The meadow is dominated at the moment by the Knapweed, whose purpley pink flowers are always covered in bees and insects. There’s also lots of low-growing Red- and White-Clover and Birds-foot Trefoil, as well as taller bursts of colour with the delicate pink shades of Musk Mallow and the bright yellow of composites such as Cat’s Ear, Hawkbit and Hawks-beard. Then there are also the sprays of white Hedge Bedstraw, a few patches of yellow Lady’s Bedstraw, and sprigs of both pink and white Yarrow. All in all, it’s a beautiful sight.
Whilst I was in the meadow I also spent some time hunting for bugs. I’ve tried to identify as many as I can. Just hover your cursor over, or click on, the gallery to see what they are …or might be. I’m definitely no expert, so if you have any corrections or additions, please do let me know!
I also took some more pictures of the pale bee – whose species I still haven’t really managed to identify! I’m currently playing with the idea that it might be a Shrill Carder Bee, but I’m not at all confident in that identification…
I’m going to finish off my National Meadow’s Day post by sharing about an odd square patch of short grass and meager growth in the middle of the meadow that always makes the historian in me a little bit excited. It was particularly noticeable during April’s dry weather but remains clear even now.
One of the methods that archaeologists use to find the remains of old buildings is to look at crop marks, especially during droughts. The presence of a buried stone feature (such as the floor of a building) becomes visible above ground as the roots of plants are unable to delve deeply enough to obtain enough water and nutrients to promote thick growth.
Conversely, the presence of a ditch can be seen in thicker growth, as the loose soil that has filled the space allows roots to delve deeper, which in turn allows growth to flourish. It might be interesting to note that there was also a straight line of lush growth right down the middle of the meadow, pretty much dividing the field into two, during April’s dry weather – suggesting the presence of such a ditch.
The person who owns the land has informed me that she was told about a tannery that once existed in the next field along the lane (now a paddock), which may have stretched into what is now the meadow. This possibly explains the presence of a ditch, as water was a necessity of the industry. It’s possible that any buildings in the field could also be connected with it. Going back even further in time, she was also told of the possibility of a bronze age settlement in the vicinity. I particularly like the thought that the square could be a sign of an bronze age building, but this is rather unlikely. The remains of structures in this part of the world from that time period are generally ’round houses’, with solid earth floors, not stone, and evidence of them is usually post holes. Ah well. What I really need to do next is to look into the local history. Maybe there’s an old map somewhere that can tell me whether anything was ever built on the site…
This was day 34 of 365 Days Wild.