The big Beech at the camp

I find it quite nice, personally, that people still camp occasionally in the valley. Although it’s even better if the place is left in good shape afterwards.

Harebells

The big meadow on the north side of the Beck remains un-mown and has become a refuge for innumerable pheasants, the Roe Deer and a growing number of Harebells. In previous years it has been cut early for silage which would have wiped these out before they seeded.

It’s becoming apparent that the important factor in keeping the wildflower meadows in their present, idyllic shape is the grazing of the horses which keeps the bushes at bay. These must be some of the few remaining fields in Bradford which haven’t been subjected to fertiliser, mowing or ploughing in recent times. Long may this management pattern continue! Parts of Tong Park remind me very much of the livestock-grazed landscape of the New Forest.

Red Bartsia on Tong Park meadows (Peter Kerr)
..and phenomenal carpets of Bog Asphodel slightly higher up the valley at Sconce (also by Peter Kerr)
Wormwood Artemisia absinthium growing along Willow Lane
Butcher’s Broom also on the north side of the valley
Devil’s-bit Scabious
Wintercress

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