Every time I walk through the Parish Field, whatever the weather or season, I see something interesting, and that's because it contains such a variety of plants and creatures.  Once all local pastures looked like the Parish Field, but farming methods have changed our countryside.  Now only these remaining fragments still grow the plants our forebears collected to flavour their food and make the medicines to cure them

Here in early spring you will see the golden stars of Lesser Celandine growing under the Blackthorn boughs covered in flowers like snowflakes and the blue flowers of that member of the mint family - the Ground Ivy.  It was picked to flavour ale before hops were brought in from the Continent in Tudor times to make beer

It's now you will see the first butterflies - the sulphur yellow Brimstone and the Small Tortoiseshell

In April the Whitethroat, Blackcap and Willow Warblers arrive, having flown a thousand miles through Saharan dessert storms and the shotguns in France and Spain, to return to their home here in the field.  Soon the male Blackcap will be singing almost as beautifully as the Nightingale

By May the Cowslips will put on the first great flower show.  Look under the Cowslip bell to see the magic red spots that Shakespeare knew, and described in his Midsummer Night's Dream

"The Cowslips toll her pensioners be,
In their gold coats spots you see
These the rubies, fairy favours
In those freckles live their savours"

But in Wales it's called Dagrau Mair - Mary's Tears

In early summer the yellow orangey flowers of Bird's-foot Trefoil opens, so called because of the five black-clawed seed heads.  The female Common Blue will find it to lay her eggs.  As does another insect - that strange moth, the Six-spot Burnet.  It flies by day because its black and red colouration tells birds that it is poisonous.  These moths emerge from straw-coloured chrysalises glued to grass stems feed on nectar.  This can be confused with another black and red moth - the Cinnabar.  She will lay her eggs on Ragwort plants

In late spring, country folk would come here to pick Sorrel leaves to make their sauces and Salad Burnet, to provide vitamin C and the taste of cucumber

Red and White Clovers are sought out by Bumble Bees - the Red, the White and Buff Tailed Bumble Bees and the Carder Bee

Farmers do not use native grasses now - they grow Italian Ryegrass - but here dozens of grass species like Fescues, Bents and Bromes.  I love the purple flowers of Yorkshire Fog, the tall brush of the Meadow Foxtail and the Quaking or Totty grass that is loved by young and old
It's the long grasses growing around the scrub areas that the brown butterflies the Chocolate Ringlet, the brown and orange Meadow Brown, and the smaller version, the Gatekeeper, lay their eggs after spending sunny days feeding on Bramble flowers

In summer dozens of flowers open - the Ox-eye Daisy or, as I prefer, Moon Daisy, and the dandelion like plants, those quaintly named Mouse-ear Hawkweed, Rough Hawkweed and Cat's-ear.  Some plants need to be searched for, being so tiny, like the Procumbent Pearlwort and the Fairy Flax or the native field Lady's-mantle and the lovely pink Centaury.  Now the second great show, the flowering of the purple


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