Posted by: lensweb | May 1, 2014

In Search of the Small Flowered Buttercup

LENS Summer Walks

Apr 28 Cottagers Hill, Gotham – in Search of the Small Flowered Buttercup

Park at Memorial Hall/Cricket Club car park. Look for the Star Inn on Nottingham Road, Gotham. Opposite is a white sign. Follow this to car park.

Grid ref SK 535 306           Postcode NG11 0HB

Leaders Marion Bryce and Penny Newton

Another fine evening for a LENS walk.  At Sandbanks, a dark sunken green lane leads to a Site of Special Scientific Interest where white satin gypsum shines out of red soil.  A flowery path through Round Spinney is purple lined with spathes of arum lily and the fuzzy foamy flowers of wood sanicle.  The land is owned by British Gypsum, leased by Gotham Nature Reserve Trust and managed by Nottingham Wildlife Trust, who have instigated scrub clearance, fencing and grazing.

A zig zag path up Gotham Hill, where sharp golden gorse and nettles mask springs and hollows in the ground, over bumpy grassland, rich with wildflowers, pale pink cuckoo flower, shining yellow goldilocks and bulbous buttercup.

The tiny hairy leaves of hundreds of small flowered buttercups hide along the edge of Long Spinney. The cryptic flowers have delicate widely spaced lemon yellow petals.

White woolly lambs frisk in front of the view over the Trent gravel pits.  The mood changes as we enter the sombre atmosphere of Gotham Hill Wood, feel the trees: The scene for bluebells, cowslips, wood speedwell, hairy St John’s wort, wood sedge and spurge laurel, a plant not commonly seen.


A rutted bridle track along the field edge leads to a meeting of the ways. Two hares dash madly downhill and black cattle gaze dolefully, then reluctantly move aside as we squeeze through a stile onto a wide track.

A green and yellow moment viewing to Gotham village, the church, the old blacksmith’s forge and over to Wood Lane,  Cuckoo Bush Farm and the tumulus mound where the villagers tried to trap a cuckoo.

The ‘Gotham Tales’ are a cycle of stories written before 1540 about feigned madness.

‘ On a time the men of Gotham fain would have pinn’d in the cuckow, whereby she should sing all the year; and in the midst of the town they had a hedge made round in compass, and they had got a cuckow, and put her into it, and said, Sing here, and you shall lack neither meat nor drink all the year. The cuckow, when she perceived herself encompassed within the hedge, she flew away: A vengeance on her, said the wise men, we made not our hedge high enough.’


Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, I must neds laughe in my selfe, The wise men of Gotum are risen againe [‘Misogonus’ 1560].

Downhill, story telling, Quietly step over old tree roots, onto the steeply banked line of the old mineral railway, silently return.

Marion Bryce April 2014


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