Monday, 14 August 2017

The Great British Wildflower Hunt

If you are looking for something to do with the children over the summer holiday, why not take part in the Great British Wildflower Hunt? It's a great way to get out and about with the family, and as well as being fun, it's easy and completely free. The outdoors is a key part of all children's experience, and taking part in the hunt is a great way to re-connect with nature.

You can sign up online here at The Great British Wildflower Hunt. The hunt has been split into two sections - Towns and Cities and Countryside Walks. Once you have registered you can choose which hunt you'd like to try, download a Spotter Sheet and go out hunting. You can submit your results online, and earn points according to how rare the wildflowers are that you have found. For example a buttercup will earn you one point, while a common spotted orchid will earn you three points.

A recent YouGov poll for Plantlife showed that 70% of people want to know more about the flowers growing around them, and I know that I definitely fall into that category. The children will often ask the name of a particular flower when we are out and about and I only know a very few - the hunt is a great way to boost your botanical knowledge as you learn together as a family. Each Spotter Sheet contains a selection of wildflowers, with a clear photograph of the flower alongside a short description with distinguishing features and likely spotting location.

There's a map on the website where you can see what has been spotted in your local area, and I was really interested to look up and see what people have found near to where I live. The the top five flowers that have been found most often, so far, are white clover, meadow buttercup, cow parsley, red clover and oxeye daisy.

The Great British Wildflower Hunt
Photo credit James King

Some wildflowers are only just coming into their best, and over the next few weeks you can keep an eye out for yarrow, rosebay willowherb and blackberry, as well as a few invasive non-native species like butterfly bush and Himalayan balsam.

The Great British Wildflower Hunt is run by Plantlife, a charity dedicated to protecting the UK's native plants and helping more people enjoy them.

"If you do know about wild flowers, this is a really easy way to share that enthusiasm with the younger generation," says Plantlife's Dr Trevor Dines, "I learnt so much from my parents and grandparents, and that generosity of spirit is what we want to encourage."

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