Spurge Spotting at Staxton

#30dayswild day 13

I was in Malton twenty mins early for my Scarborough bus this morning and availed myself of an earlier bus (the Bridlington service, which shares the same route as far as Staxton roundabout, before heading off to Filey and Brid.) I knew that changing at Staxton would afford me a little over a quarter of an hour, perhaps enough for a speedy stroll up the old green lane opposite Pear Tree Farm to appreciate the view from the brow.

It also made possible a quick scout of a grassland Stewardship site I was involved in setting up a few years ago, allied to the Carrs Wetland Project. It involved brisk stroll up the hill and although brief, assured me that the grassland reversion had taken successfully and that the one-metre arable flora margin sandwiched between the cereal cropping and the chalk grassland reversion is still being maintained.

This margin is simply a strip cultivated with the arable field but left uncropped so that weed species may germinate there, which struggle to find a niche among today’s intensive, clean crops. Sun Spurge and Fumitory were present in the arable margin, both nice arable flora indicator species. Anyone who has also been following the blog posts on the North Yorkshire Turtle Dove Project will be aware that the seeds of the latter weed species are an important food source for Turtle Doves.

A longer visit is probably warranted to see how the flower species are coming along in the grassland reversion area and indeed the adjacent chalk dale grassland from which seed hay was spread to expand the habitat.

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