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Trip to Howthorpe Farm, Terrington September 10th 2002

(Species lists below)

view with pigs11 members met at this slightly out-of-the-way farm in the Howardian Hills, including two new members whom we were delighted to welcome (and one intrepid member who had walked to the rendezvous from Slingsby!). We were welcomed by Susan Bragg, the new project officer for the AONB (Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty), who introduced the area to us, and also gave us a bit of history on the development of the AONB. We then set off for what she thought would be about a 4-hour walk, but she hadn't reckoned with the botanists who kept finding interesting plants and dropping behind! We logged over 160 species, many of them in flower; and this is an underestimate of those present as we did not identify most of the grasses, nor all the sedges we saw. So this is clearly a very rich area, partly because of the variety of habitats, including sandy fields, wetland, woodland and some more base-rich areas.

We started our walk at the farmhouse and went across farmland including several fields with “free range” pigs. field pansyIt was wonderful to see the animals outside, enjoying the open air and mudbaths, but apparently the unit is not economic in the present mad world and may have to close. This part of the farm is on very sandy, quite acid soils, which meant a wide variety of weeds I was less familiar with since I live on neutral, even limy soil. The corn sow-thistles in particular were making a fine show, and there were more unusual plants such as corn spurrey. Several areas were presumably set-aside and had a magnificent growth of “weeds”, mostly redleg and the closely-related pale persicaria, together with such flowers as speedwell and pineapple-weed along the edge of the track. I have never seen such large and healthy-looking field pansies, which suggests that the soil had been well fertilised.

The track then led up through woodland, with a suite of typical woodland species such as yellow pimpernel, with water-pepper in the damp ruts of the path, wood sage and brambles. The find of the day was wood vetch (Vicia sylvatica), which we found in two separate patches; unfortunately it had almost finished flowering, so we did not see the very beautiful purple-veined flowers at their best. sedgesAt the top of the wood we crossed the “Entrenchment” marked on the OS map, probably an Iron Age defensive bank, that runs all along the crest of this ridge above the Vale of Pickering. We had our lunch at the top of Fryton Lane. Here we were on limestone, and the flora changed to reflect this, with such lime-loving species as quaking grass, field scabious and salad burnet. We made a brief diversion down the lane to see the Millennium seat and artwork which had been placed by the people of Fryton with support from the AONB. The next phase of the walk was down through the wood to Hollin Hill Bogs, a very interesting area of wetland in the valley bottom (on the Oxford Clay). This was quite a mosaic of different habitats, including a zone of prehistoric-looking sedges in alder carr. The tussock sedge (Carex paniculata) was particularly impressive, growing on a plinth of its own dead leaves. Many of the plants in this area, especially the wetter parts, had finished flowering. It would be most interesting to re-visit the area earlier in the year, when such species as valerian and the sedges would be in flower. We did not spend as long here as some of the botanists would have liked – but quite long enough for the local midges to find us!

We then skirted the wetland and noted the plants in the damp meadows. Sue discussed some of the issues involved in the conservation of such habitats, pointing out that there were often hard choices to be made, and also reminding us that much of what we consider to be “natural” is in fact man-made. Much of what she said was thought-provoking, and made a fitting end to a most interesting trip. Michael Bliss thanked her on behalf of all those present for showing us much of interest. We saw many new things and learned a lot, even though we were close to home. Finally we made our way back up through an area of dry grassland to the farm. Here there were more lime-loving species, including musk thistles which attracted several butterflies.

big oak tree

Species Lists


I was quite surprised to find we had logged over 160 plants, reflecting the varied habitats on this trip. I have split them into flowers, trees, shrubs, ferns, rushes, grasses and sedges (and one horsetail). We also recorded 17 birds and a variety of other wildlife.

Latin name Common name
Achillea millefolium Yarrow
Agrimonia eupatoria Agrimony, common
Ajuga reptans Bugle
Alchemilla vulgaris agg. Lady's mantle
Angelica sylvestris Angelica
Arctium minus Burdock
Artemesia vulgaris Mugwort
Atriplex patula Orache
Campanula latifolia Bellflower, greater
Campanula rotundifolia Harebell
Capsella bursa-pastoris Shepherds purse
Cardamine flexuosa Bittercress, wavy
Carduus crispus Thistle, welted
Carduus nutans Thistle, musk
Centaurea nigra Knapweed, common
Centaurium erythraea Centaury
Cerastium fontanum Mouse ear, common
Chamaenerion angustifolium Willowherb, rosebay or Fireweed
Chenopodium rubrum Red goosefoot
Chrysosplenium oppositifolium Golden saxifrage, opposite leaved
Circaea lutetiana Enchanters nightshade
Cirsium arvense Thistle, creeping
Cirsium palustre Thistle, marsh
Cirsium vulgare Thistle, spear
Crepis capillaris Hawksbeard, smooth
Cruciata laevipes Crosswort
Epilobium hirsutum Willowherb, great
Epilobium montanum Willowherb, broad leaved
Erodium cicutarium Storksbill
Euphrasia officinalis agg. Eyebright
Fallopia convolvulus Bindweed, black
Filipendula ulmaria Meadowsweet
Galeopsis tetrahit Hempnettle, common
Galium aparine Cleavers
Galium verum Bedstraw, ladys
Geranium molle Cranesbill, dovesfoot
Geranium pratense Cranesbill, meadow
Geranium robertianum Herb robert
Geum urbanum Avens, wood
Glechoma hederacea Ground ivy
Gnaphalium uliginosum Cudweed, marsh
Heracleum sphondylium Hogweed
Hieracium species Hawkweed
Hyacinthoides non-scripta Bluebell
Hypericum perforatum St Johnswort, perforate
Hypericum tetrapterum St Johnswort, square stalked
Hypochaeris radicata Catsear
Impatiens glandulifera Balsam, Himalayan
Knautia arvensis Scabious, field
Lamium purpureum Deadnettle, red
Lapsana communis Nipplewort
Lathyrus pratensis Meadow vetchling
Leontodon autumnalis Hawkbit, autumn
Leontodon hispidus Hawkbit, rough
Linum catharticum Flax, fairy
Lonicera periclymenum Honeysuckle
Lotus corniculatus Birdsfoot trefoil, common
Lotus pedunculatus Birdsfoot trefoil, greater
Lysimachia nemorum Yellow pimpernel
Matricaria discoidea Pineapple weed
Matricaria recutita Mayweed, scented
Medicago lupulina Medick, black
Mentha aquatica Mint, water
Mentha arvensis Mint, corn
Mercurialis perennis Dogs mercury
Myosotis arvensis Forgetmenot, field
Odontites verna Red bartsia
Oxalis acetosella Wood sorrel
Papaver rhoeas Poppy, common
Persicaria hydropiper Water pepper
Persicaria lapathifolia Pale persicaria
Persicaria maculosa Redshank
Pilosella officinarum Hawkweed, mouse eared
Plantago lancelata Plantain, ribwort
Plantago major Plantain, greater
Polygonum aviculare Knotgrass
Potentilla anserina Silverweed
Potentilla erecta Tormentil
Potentilla reptans Cinquefoil, creeping
Prunella vulgaris Self heal
Ranunculus repens Buttercup, creeping
Raphanus raphanistrum Radish, wild
Rubus fruticosus Bramble
Rubus idaeus Raspberry
Rumex acetosa Sorrel, common
Rumex acetosella Sorrel, sheeps
Rumex obtusifolius Dock, broad leaved
Rumex sanguineus Dock, wood
Sanguisorba minor Burnet, salad
Scrophularia auriculata Figwort, water
Scrophularia nodosa Figwort, common
Senecio jacobea Ragwort, common
Senecio vulgaris Groundsel, common
Silene dioica Campion, red
Sisymbrium officinalis Hedge mustard
Sonchus arvensis Sowthistle, corn or perennial
Sonchus asper Sowthistle, rough
Spergula arvensis Spurrey, corn
Stachys sylvatica Woundwort, hedge
Stellaria media Chickweed, common
Succisa pratensis Scabious, devilsbit
Taraxacum sp. Dandelion
Teucrium scorodonia Wood sage
Thymus polytrichus Thyme
Trifolium dubium Trefoil, lesser
Trifolium pratense Clover, red
Trifolium repens Clover, white
Urtica dioica Nettle, common
Urtica urens Nettle, small
Valeriana officinalis Valerian, common
Veronica arvensis Speedwell, wall
Veronica beccabunga Speedwell, brooklime
Veronica chamaedrys Speedwell, germander
Veronica officinalis Speedwell, heath
Veronica persica Speedwell, common
Veronica serpyllifolia Speedwell, thyme leaved
Vicia cracca Vetch, tufted
Vicia sepium Vetch, bush
Vicia sylvatica Vetch, wood
Viola arvensis Pansy, field

wood vetch
Wood Vetch

devil's bit scabious
Devil’s Bit Scabious



Latin name Common name
Acer campestre Maple, field
Acer pseudoplatanus Sycamore
Aesculus hippocastanum Chestnut, horse
Alnus glutinosa Alder
Betula pendula Birch, silver
Castanea sativa Chestnut, sweet
Corylus avellana Hazel
Crataegus monogyna Hawthorn
Fagus sylvatica Beech
Fraxinus excelsior Ash
Ilex aquifolium Holly
Larix sp. (L. decidua) Larch
Malus sylvestris Crab apple
Pinus sylvestris Scots pine
Populus tremula Aspen
Populus x canadensis Poplar, hybrid
Prunus spinosa Blackthorn
Quercus sp. Oak
Salix caprea Willow, goat
Salix cinerea Willow, grey
Sambucus nigra Elder
Sorbus aucuparia Rowan

Latin name Common name
Cytisus scoparius Broom
Hedera helix Ivy
Rosa canina Rose, dog
Ulex europaeus Gorse
Viburnum opulus Guelder rose

Latin name Common name
Athyrium filix-femina Lady Fern
Dryopteris dilatata Broad buckler fern
Dryopteris filix-mas Male Fern
Pteridium aquilinum Bracken

Latin name Common name
Juncus articulatus Jointed Rush
Juncus effusus Soft Rush
Juncus inflexus Hard Rush

Latin name Common name
Arrhenatherum elatius Oat, False
Brachypodium sylvaticum Slender False Brome
Briza media Quaking Grass
Dactylis glomerata Cocksfoot
Festuca pratensis Fescue, Meadow
Lolium perenne Rye Grass, Perennial
Phleum pratense Timothy
Phragmites communis Reed

Latin name Common name
Carex acutiformis Pond sedge
Carex paniculata Tussock sedge
Carex pendula Drooping sedge
Carex sylvatica Sedge, wood

Latin name Common name
Equisetum palustre Marsh Horsetail

Birds (25) badger footprint
Seen: sparrow, swallow, goldfinch, house martin, meadow pipit, jackdaw, crow, rook, kestrel, sparrowhawk, pied wagtail, linnet, robin, blackbird, woodpigeon, starling, long-tailed tit, herring gull.
Heard: wren, blue tit, coal tit, chaffinch, bullfinch, greater spotted woodpecker, tawny owl.

Red admiral, small white, small tortoiseshell, small copper, grasshoppers, various moths, beetles and midges!

Rabbit, Rat (footprints), badger (footprints, see right), Mole (hills), Frog

Horse mushroom, yellow cracked bolete, small unidentified toadstool.

Back to the topGill Smith September 2002

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© Ryedale Natural History Society 2002; Pictures © Gill & Adrian Smith 2001, 2002
Page last modified 15th September 2002