The valley's wild flowers
The chalk downland of Sheepcote valley is host to a multitude of plant species, which over the years have adapted to their environment and traditional land use. Many plants grow in prostrate (low) form, or produce a tight rosette of leaves at the base of their stems in order to survive grazing, once by sheep, now by rabbits. Plants specific to this shallow, well-drained soil include kidney vetch, restharrow and various species of orchid.
Where the downland turf was once ploughed, flowers such as poppies and field madder would appear, but as farming methods have modernised, some of these arable weeds have become rarer.
The rough grassland areas, such as on the steep banks of the valley, are rich with thriving species such as centaury, melilot, black medick, toadflax, cinqfoil, birdsfoot trefoil, and in the lower grass/scrub areas, campions and viper's-bugloss can be found.
Many plants with traditional and modern medicinal value grow here for example, agrimony, eyebright and horseradish.
Here is a short list of plants to look out for:
Spring - Wild violets, cowslips, hawthorn (May) blossom.
Early Summer - Bee orchids, pyramidal orchids, bellflowers, kidney vetch, ox-eye daisies, eyebright and agrimony.
Late Summer - Viper's-bugloss, greater knapweed and many other thistle species. Autumn Gorse, hawthorn berries and fungi.