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Sinnington Woods Spring Flowers
18th April 2015

led by Gill Smith

Species lists below

19 members and guests met on the green at Sinnington on a lovely sunny day (though there was a chilly breeze). We then followed a route north along the river across meadows and through the lower slopes of the woods as far as Nutholm before climbing up through the woods and returning along the top path, via Stables Wood and the church to complete the circuit.

View of river

2015 has been a strange year weather-wise: although we did not have a particularly severe winter spring has been generally cold, but dry. Most of the plants – and notably the trees – are late. The woods were still in their winter clothes with the leaves only just beginning to break, and hoped-for blossom such as cherry was not yet out.

The woods in the Seven valley here are wonderful mostly undisturbed ancient deciduous woodland, with a very mixed ground flora including orchids and the delightful town hall clock or moschatel Adoxa moschatellina (and, although we didn’t see any today, lily-of-the-valley, herb paris and columbine have also been recorded here). There is a good mix of habitats with both limy and more acid soils, steep slopes and gentle, wet and dry areas, and exposed rocky crags either natural outcrops or old quarry faces. The river banks are also rich in flora, including a few wild daffodils. Close to the village there are garden escapes such as winter aconites and green alkanet.

Ryenats members on woodland path

We enjoyed the typical woodland flora such as these windflowers Anemone nemorosa carpeting the hillside...

Wood anemones under trees

...and town hall clock and the much commoner but pretty ground ivy.

Moschatel Adoxa moschatellina Ground ivy Glechoma hederacea

Even the primroses were mostly still in bud; and the early purple orchids that we’d hoped to see were hardly even showing the flower spikes at all – they were showing off their spotted leaves rather nicely though.

Primrose and Wood Anemone Primula vulgaris and Anemone nemorosa

Primrose and Wood Anemone

Early Purple Orchid Orchis mascula

Early Purple Orchid leaves (and a violet, probably early dog violet)

The river runs clear and has fish in it: we saw a boy catch a good-sized brown trout. We managed to catch a brief glimpse of a kingfisher flying away upstream, and some lucky members spotted a dipper near the cottage at Nutholm.

River view with angling club sign

Nitholm cottage with wild daffodils

We noticed a lot of the very distinctive bee-fly which hovers much like a tiny humming bird (only about half an inch long); occasionally they would settle and I managed to get this shot which shows the extraordinarily long proboscis – like the humming bird’s beak – and rather less clearly the patterned wings. There were also a number of hoverflies including this Eristalis, and several butterflies including a comma but they wouldn’t sit for portraits unfortunately.

Bee-fly Bombylius major


Hoverfly Eristalis sp.


We finished back at Sinnington and enjoyed delicious cake (thank you Pauline/Ian and Nick/Rita). This had been a most enjoyable outing with more than 80 species of plants, 25 birds, 6 butterflies, bumblebees including an early nesting Bombus pratorum and several hoverflies and other interesting insects. Unfortunately in Jim’s absence we were unable to id any spiders.

We saw evidence of moles (molehills), badgers (a well-worn path and paw-prints), tawny owls (pellets containing among other things the jawbone of a wood mouse), a dead mouse and a dead hare with a broken leg.

Celebratory cake
Members enjoying our cake after the walk – with our youngest member in the foreground!

Plant list

Latin nameCommon name
Acer pseudoplatanusSycamore
Adoxa moschatellinaMoschatel or Town hall clock
Aegopodium podagrariaGround elder (lf)
Alchemilla sp.Lady’s mantle
Alliaria petiolataHedge Garlic or Jack by the Hedge
Allium ursinumRamsons
Alnus glutinosaAlder
Anemone nemorosaWood anemone
Anthriscus sylvestrisCow parsley (lf)
Arabidopsis thalianaThale cress
Arum maculatumLords and ladies
Bellis perennisDaisy
Betula sp.Birch
Cardamine hirsutaBittercress, hairy
Carex sylvaticaWood sedge (lf)
Chrysosplenium oppositifolium Golden saxifrage, opposite leaved
Cirsium arvenseThistle, creeping (lf)
Cirsium vulgareThistle, spear (lf)
Conopodium majusPignut (lf)
Corylus avellanaHazel
Crataegus monogynaHawthorn
Eranthis hyemalisWinter aconite (garden escape)
Fragaria vescaStrawberry, wild
Fraxinus excelsiorAsh
Galanthus nivalisSnowdrop (garden escape)
Galium aparineCleavers
Galium odoratumWoodruff (lf)
Geranium robertianumHerb robert (lf)
Geum urbanumAvens, wood (? - leaf only)
Glechoma hederaceaGround ivy
Hedera helixIvy
Heracleum sphondyliumHogweed (lf)
Hyacinthoides non-scriptaBluebell
Hypericum hirsutumSt Johnswort, hairy (lf)
Ilex aquifoliumHolly
Lonicera periclymenumHoneysuckle (lf)
Luzula sylvaticaWoodrush, great
Meconopsis cambricaPoppy, Welsh (garden escape)
Mercurialis perennisDogs mercury
Myosotis sylvaticaForgetmenot, wood
Narcissus pseudonarcissusWild daffodil
Orchis masculaOrchid, early purple (lf)
Oxalis acetosellaWood sorrel
Pentaglottis sempervirensGreen alkanet (garden escape)
Plantago lanceolataPlantain, ribwort (lf)
Plantago majorPlantain, greater (lf)
Potentilla reptansCinquefoil, creeping (lf)
Potentilla sterilisStrawberry, barren
Primula vulgarisPrimrose, common
Primula x polyanthaFalse oxlip
Prunus aviumWild cherry
Prunus spinosaBlackthorn
Quercus sp.Oak
Ranunculus auricomusButtercup, goldilocks
Ranunculus ficariaCelandine, lesser
Ranunculus repensButtercup, creeping (lf)
Ribes uva-crispaGooseberry
Rosa arvensisRose, field (lf)
Rubus fruticosusBramble (lf)
Rumex obtusifoliusDock, broad leaved (lf)
Sambucus nigraElder
Sanicula europaeaSanicle (lf)
Senecio vulgarisGroundsel, common
Silene dioicaCampion, red (? - leaf only)
Sonchus oleraceaSowthistle, smooth (lf)
Stachys sylvaticaWoundwort, hedge (lf)
Stellaria holosteaStitchwort, greater (lf)
Taraxacum sp.Dandelion
Trifolium pratenseClover, red (lf)
Trifolium repensClover, white (lf)
Ulex europaeusGorse
Urtica dioicaNettle, common (lf)
Vaccinium myrtillusBilberry (lf)
Veronica beccabungaSpeedwell, brooklime (lf)
Veronica hederifoliaSpeedwell, ivy leaved
Veronica montanaSpeedwell, wood (lf)
Vicia sepiumVetch, bush (? - leaf only)
Viola odorataViolet, sweet
Viola reichenbachianaViolet, early dog or Wood dog
Viola rivinianaViolet, common dog
Viola riviniana × reichenbachiana = V. × bavaricaViolet, hybrid common × wood

81 spp.


Small Tortoiseshell
Orange Tip
Green Veined White


Thanks to Ken Hutchinsom for the bird list:
blackcap, rook, grey wagtail, chaffinch, chiffchaff, great tit, nuthatch, blackbird, wren, house martin, kingfisher, mallard, blue tit, great spotted woodpecker, swallow, marsh tit, wood pigeon, jay, pheasant, tree sparrow, jackdaw, house sparrow, starling, collared dove, dipper.


Thanks to Andrew Grayson for this list of invertebrates including six hoverflies.

SpeciesMalesFemalesUnsexedCommon name
Arion ater 1 Black Slug
Oniscus asellus 2 Common Woodlouse
Anthocharis cardamines2  Orange Tip Butterfly
Pieris napi1  Green Veined White Butterfly
Polygonia c-album  1Comma Butterfly
Andrena haemorrhoa 2 Early Mining Bee
Bombus terrestris 1 Buff-tailed Bumblebee
Bombylius major 15*Bee Fly
Rhamphomyia albohirta 1 a fly
Eristalis pertinax4  Drone Fly (a hoverfly)
Ferdinandea cuprea 1 a hoverfly
Melanostoma scalare2  a hoverfly
Parasyrphus punctulatus2  a hoverfly
Platycheirus albimanus3  a hoverfly
Syrphus ribesii1  a hoverfly
Gymnocheta viridis  1a tachinid fly

* estimated numbers seen in the field

© Ryedale Natural History Society 2015, Photos © Gill Smith, Nick Fraser, Pauline Popely 2015 Back to the Home page