The flower map for Redcar Stray can be found using the following link.
Redcar Stray – afternoon of 29th June
Posted on 19th July 2015 by Martin Allen
We started by looking at how plants can grow as really small versions of themselves if they are amongst grass which is mown regularly. Lady’s Bedstraw, Common Restharrow, Common Bird’s-foot-trefoil, Ribwort Plantain, Bulbous buttercup and Salad Burnet were all noted in the undulating closely-mown land by the roadside. Wild Thyme was in flower and Lesser Hawkbit with its grey backs to the outer florets also seen here.
Into the adjacent un-mown grass that was recently disturbed in order to lay a new sewage drain, although you wouldn’t know it from looking at it now, and lines of Wall Barley could be seen on path edges. The purple flowers of Common Mallow stood out against the grasses as did the large dock-like leaves of Horse-radish.
By the entrance to the children’s paddling pool there were the final flowers from a clump of Geranium x magnificum a bright-blue flowered garden plant and then near the sea wall the white and pink forms of Common Stork’s-bill, a white flowered Musk-mallow and the scattered flower heads of Wild Onion. A couple tiny grasses here too; Fern-grass and Sea Fern-grass.
Growing on the nearby sea-shore, Sea Rocket was just starting to flower and alongside it were Frosted Orache, Sand Couch and a tiny patch of Sea Sandwort growing in the crevices of the blocks of the new sea defences – it won’t be long before other plants soften the concrete edges.
Out up onto the top of the dunes to enjoy the almondy scent of a large patch of flowering Hogweed plants and then down behind the dune to see scattered White Campion and a couple of plants of the locally scarce Wild Clary still with a few deep-blue flowers. Hemlock (yes that Hemlock) was growing at the edge of a long hedge of the Duke-of-Argyll’s Teaplant, an alien plant that can tolerate the sea spray and so was used by residents of the area as long ago as 1850 to make hedges – now more commonly known as Goji berry one of the new ‘super-foods’. Adjacent to the hedge grows Bur Chervil in one of its few sites in north Yorkshire – the burrs are on the seeds.
On towards the car park near Marske where on the Redcar side the council have stopped cutting the grass and a couple of Bee Orchids were seen growing near a large patch of flowering Purple Milk-vetch. And so we returned back towards our parked cars not even having covered a whole mile in the last two and a half hours because someone kept stopping and pointing out plants.
Sunday afternoon stroll on The Stray; 5th July
Posted on 19th July 2015 by Martin Allen
Another bright day with some cloud, but a chilly and strong wind.
We started by looking at an old map of the area from 1930 which showed where we were standing to be a putting course – amazing – and then when we looked closely we could imagine all the humps and bumps as a miniature golf course. On our hands and knees, first to see the Wild Thyme which was flowering in abundance amongst the mown grass and then hunting around to discover Salad Burnet, Lady’s Bedstraw and Common Bird’s-foot-trefoil there too, all coping quite well with the regular mowing by growing smaller than usual. As the grass is likely to have been mown/cut here since 1930 then it’s likely that these plants have grown here for more than 80 years.
Walking straight over to the mud path amongst the dunes just behind the sea defences to see Small Mallow (the first time I’d seen this species, which to be fair would be fairly easy to miss) and then along the path to compare vegetation growing in areas of nutrient-rich soil (Hogweed, False Oat-grass) with the much smaller plants on the now fixed sand dunes (Red Fescue, Lady’s Bedstraw) and then some plants of the white-flowered form of Common Stork’s-bill.
Just before the children’s paddling pool we stopped to admire a single plant of musk mallow in full flower – this one also of the rarer white form – and then noticed a cluster of the more subtle and much smaller Hare’s-foot Clover, an annual not previously noted along The Stray. Dotted behind were the unusual flowerheads of Wild Onion, a mixture of bulbils (miniature onions) and flower buds.
And so over to the sea shore to investigate the many flowering plants of Sea Rocket and the grey foliage of Frosted Orache along with the odd plant of Sand Couch and Lyme-grass where perhaps new dunes are starting to form in front of the newly installed sea defences.
Up high on the old dunes again for a quick look at a bush of the Duke-of-Argyll’s Teaplant and a yellow-flowered form of Stinking Iris in splendid isolation amongst the grass, before turning back towards the cafe and walking past many scattered plants of White Campion (noting they have separate male and female plants) before the heavy cloud dripping rain on the horizon reached us.