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Wild Flowers Found in Burnley, Lancashire

Updated on April 4, 2012

Wild Flowers In Burnley

I have very much enjoyed getting to know the wild flowers of Burnley, which are surprisingly abundant, very beautiful, spirit raising and can sometimes be found in the most unprepossessing of places. Soil wise there is a lot of peat around and much of the area has a slightly acid soil - PH below 7. It should be noted that Burnley gets plenty of rain, some might argue, more rain then we strictly require!

Bluebell - Hyacynthoides non-scripta

English woods are renowned for their Bluebells and whilst there aren't a lot of woods around Burnley, we don't miss out on bluebells completely. Bluebells come into their own in May and catching a wood carpeted in bluebells at their peak is a heady experience. Cemetery Woods is a good place to find them. I photographed these in Huncoat, five miles from Burnley, in a remnant of woodland on a brownfield site which has reverted very nicely to nature.

Bluebells | Source

Wild Garlic

Wild Garlic, also known as ransoms, is plentiful in Cemetery wood where these were photographed. I try not to tread on wildflowers, but it sometimes can't be avoided when the ground is carpeted with wild garlic and this means you carry the scent of garlic on your footwear for a day afterwards. The delicate flowers are slightly at odds with the wild uniform green leaves which have evolved to capture the limited sunlight coming through the tree canopy and maximise photosynthesis.

Wild Garlic
Wild Garlic | Source

Greater Burnet Saxifrage - Pimpinella major

I enjoy an imposing sounding plant name and combining the Latin and English names, like to imagine that somewhere there is a Major Burnet Saxifrage retired from commanding troops. The greater burnet saxifrage has a pinkish tinge to the flower-head and prefers a damp habitat. I photographed this one in July growing in a ditch near Clowbridge reservoir, near Burnley.

Greater Burnett Saxifrage
Greater Burnett Saxifrage | Source
Greater Burnett Saxifrage Leaf
Greater Burnett Saxifrage Leaf | Source

Cuckoo Flower - Cardamine pratensis

I've never heard a cuckoo whilst living in Burnley and the bird has suffered a dramatic decline in the UK in the past ten years. Happily, cuckoo flower can be found all over Burnley from April to June, to cheer the eye. It flowers often in quantity amongst unmown grass and patches of thin soil. I photographed these in May at Stoops Estate, on stony ground where houses stood 15 years ago.

Cuckoo Flower
Cuckoo Flower | Source

Common Spotted Orchid - Dactylorhiza incarnata

These are one of the jewels in Burnley's crown. Orchids - you imagine they'll be tucked away in distant places, hard to find, in ones and twos. But not common spotted orchids, at least not in Burnley. When I lived in Nottinghamshire I would occasionally find them. In Burnley in June there are places where your eye is drawn through the grass by a visual feast of orchids. I've found them growing in narrow strips of grass by factory fences and old railway tracks. They are abundant in an area near to Lower Rosegrove Road and also near Cemetery Road and other places just waiting for you to explore, entirely for free, on foot, at the right time of year.

Common Spotted Orchid
Common Spotted Orchid | Source
A Grassy Bank near Burnley, Lancashire, with Abundant Common Spotted Orchids
A Grassy Bank near Burnley, Lancashire, with Abundant Common Spotted Orchids | Source

Orange Hawkweed - Pilosella aurantiaca

I love Orange Hawkweed for being the orangiest wild flower in the UK. (Although I can't think of any other contenders to be fair). It isn't subtle, but it brightens up patches of ground where the soil is thin and plants struggle to gain height. I also like it for being easily identifiable amongst the legions of hawkbits, hawkbeards, hawkweeds, and other relatives of the dandelion which I get quite confused between.

I photographed this one in Huncoat village in September. Peak flowering time is June-August.There were several growing on top of a low wall surrounding a meadow.

Orange Hawkweed
Orange Hawkweed | Source

Lesser Skullcap - Scutellaria minor

Not a wildly attractive name, and a small unassuming flower each being around 5mm long. However the lesser skullcap is delicate and pretty, meriting a second look. The only place I have found them is a meadow off Lower Rosegrove Lane, Burnley where they flower in profusion from July to the end of September.

Lesser Skullcap
Lesser Skullcap | Source

Ragged Robin - Lychnis flos-cuculi

An attractive name for a lovely plant, which I'd rarely seen until I moved to Burnley. It loves to grow in damp meadows, which is probably why it flourishes here, where the meadows are more likely to be damp then not. I photographed these in June, on the bridle path from Lower Rosegrove Lane, Burnely to Padiham, a former railway line.

Ragged Robin
Ragged Robin | Source

Corn Cockle - Agrostemma githago

Although the corn cockle is seen growing wild in the UK, it is uncommon and this one had been intentionally sown as part of a small wildflower meadow area in Scott Park, Burnley. Like the poppy, it was a weed of wheat and barley fields which has been edged out by more efficient farming methods. However it can be enjoyed by anyone with a little patch to spare for wild flowers in a sunny area of the garden and as an annual will give you a beautiful result in the same year that you sow it.

Corn Cockle
Corn Cockle | Source

Birdsfoot Trefoil - Lotus corniculatus

From May to September the birds foot trefoil brightens short to medium length sward up with its golden gleam and orangey tinges. Trefoil is a bit of a misnomer because there are actually 5 leaves per stem, but the lowest two are angled differently, making the top three stand out. The birds foot bit puzzled me mightily because I couldn't see a resemblance in the flowers or leaves, but it refers to the seedheads, which with a bit of imagination look a little like a European starling's foot.

These were photographed in May, alongside the Leeds Liverpool canal between Gannow Tunnel, Burnley and Hapton.

Bird's foot trefoil
Bird's foot trefoil | Source

Some Good Further Reading on Wild Flowers

Sarah Raven's Wild Flowers: Special Edition
Sarah Raven's Wild Flowers: Special Edition

Sarah Raven is aiming to increase the wild flower population of Britain and this book accompanies her TV series about this project.

Flora Britannica
Flora Britannica

This is an enjoyable ramble through British wild flowers, full of fascinating information. One to dip in to.



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    • Imogen French profile image

      Imogen French 3 years ago from Southwest England

      I just followed a link here from my Wild Flowers in Dorset hub. It was a very enjoyable ramble through your local wild flowers thank you. I see we have a few crossovers (bluebells, garlic, orchids), but you also have some beautiful wild flowers that I haven't seen in my part of the UK before.

    • Nettlemere profile image

      Nettlemere 5 years ago from Burnley, Lancashire, UK

      Animalwrites - thank you for reading and commenting - apologies I somehow failed to reply sooner.

      Moonlake, thank you for visiting and voting, I'm pleased you enjoyed it.

    • moonlake profile image

      moonlake 5 years ago from America

      The flowers are beautiful and you take great pictures. I enjoyed this hub I like anything with flowers in it. Voted up.

    • AnimalWrites profile image

      AnimalWrites 5 years ago from Planet Earth

      Beautiful wildflowere Nettlemere, and it shows what a wealth of natural beauty is growing on our own doorsteps. Thanks for sharing.

    • Nettlemere profile image

      Nettlemere 5 years ago from Burnley, Lancashire, UK

      Thank you so much Brian, Judi and sgbrown. Following such generous approval, I'm on the cusp of producing a second flowers of Burnley hub which I hope you'll enjoy too.

    • Nettlemere profile image

      Nettlemere 5 years ago from Burnley, Lancashire, UK

      Thanks Jkenny - I enjoy gardening for wildlife too.

      Saw some bluebells out today which seemed pretty early for lancashire.

    • Judi Bee profile image

      Judith Hancock 5 years ago from UK

      Beautiful hub, really enjoyed reading it and the photos are fab!

      Voted up etc.

    • BRIAN SLATER profile image

      Brian Slater 5 years ago from Nottingham Uk

      Wonderful hub. I was intrigued by the title and so glad I discovered this little gem. Voted up awesome.

    • sgbrown profile image

      Sheila Brown 5 years ago from Southern Oklahoma

      Wonderful hub! Beautiful pictures and great information. I too like that fact that you gave the name of the flower and some information on them as well. Very good job! I really enjoyed reading this hub! Voted up and beautiful and interesting! Have a wonderful day! :)

    • JKenny profile image

      James Kenny 5 years ago from Birmingham, England

      Great collection of wildflowers, Nettlemere. My entire garden is full of wildflowers, after having removed most of the ornamentals. I've got daffodils, celandines, and the bluebells are almost ready to burst into flower. Hopefully, later on, the foxgloves will return, I love watching the bees slip inside each flower. Great work. Voted up.

    • Movie Master profile image

      Movie Master 5 years ago from United Kingdom

      Your photos and descriptions of wild flowers are fabulous, I have really enjoyed reading - your love of the countryside is evident in your writing!

      Thank you, voted up and shared.

      Best wishes Lesley

    • Nettlemere profile image

      Nettlemere 5 years ago from Burnley, Lancashire, UK

      Thank you for your comment Stephanie - I really like to know what I'm looking at too, I regularly check my flower and bird ID books to try and work out what I've seen.

    • Stephanie Henkel profile image

      Stephanie Henkel 5 years ago from USA

      Love your flower photographs, and I'm so glad that you've named each flower! So often we see beautiful photographs of flowers and have to wonder what they are.

      Voted up and pinned!

    • Nettlemere profile image

      Nettlemere 5 years ago from Burnley, Lancashire, UK

      Whereabouts in the UK did you live AliciaC? Did you ever visit Lancashire or North Yorkshire (my favourite county)?

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 5 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      I enjoyed this hub very much, Nettlemere. Your flower photos and descriptions reminded me of my childhood in the U.K. I used to love exploring the countryside and looking at some of the wildflowers that you've shown.