The New Year in Burtonwood dawned wet and windy, but a small group of hardy botanists were not deterred (much) and set off in heavy rain to see how many flowering plants we could find. The weather had been rather cold in the lead-up to the survey and we decided we would be happy to find seven species in flower – one each!
It started well with two species in the car park and another four in a nearby arable field. On the edge of the road Sam found white deadnettle and that was our seven species – we could officially retire to the pub at this point. Did we stop there? No. The pub was not open yet 😦 so we continued our walk along the Sankey Valley.
Pickings along the valley footpath were sparse with just hogweed and creeping cinquefoil catching our attention. We decided to go along the lane to Burtonwood village as we have had good luck searching urban areas on past events. The road was busy and the wind bracing, but we did see dandelion and daisy in a roadside verge/lawn before being told to go away by an over-zealous Neighbourhood Watch type.
The village proved productive with an array of pavement weeds and we finished off by visiting Burtonwood Nature Park, which was very muddy indeed, but produced the hazel and alder catkins we had been hoping to see all day.
We arrived at the pub in time for a well-earned lunch and toast our success with a total of 23 species. The Fiddle I’th Bag Inn is well known locally for its suet puddings and idiosyncratic decor.
Visit the BSBI New Year Plant Hunt website for more info on the project, and search the hashtag #NewYearPlantHunt to see how botanists got on across the UK and Ireland.