Posted by: lensweb | May 3, 2018

Are There Any Wild Daffodils in Derbyshire?

April 28 Saturday A Short Walk to Mugginton

Meet 10am at layby by dairy on Bullhurst Lane, Weston Underwood DE6 4PA

Approx 2.5 miles  Leader Marion Bryce

After some serious flooding it was a relief when the floodwater receded and we were able to set out on the first walk of the season for LENS. On a cold but bright day, a group of 10 walked up the lush grassy hill from Western Underwood to a green lane which leads to Mugginton. The hedge bank was punctuated with rabbit burrows and a fox earth.The elm and hawthorn hedge sheltered native bluebells, arum lilies and greater stitchwort.

Mugginton church is magnificently situated on a knoll, parts date back to the Domesday book. The square tower is Norman. There is some coloured medieval glass in the south window which shines upon an alabaster alter tomb with engraved brasses of a knight and his lady. Stone gargoyles ogle the dark box pews which are rarely seen in churches these days.

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The oldest gravestone we found was dated 1728, notable memorials were a carved angel and a magnificent carved headstone overlooking the valley of the Mercaston Brook.

Primroses, mouse-ear hawkweed, field wood-rush and a yellow-green star shaped polytrichum moss contributed towards the impressive biodiversity of flowers in the churchyard where a treasured ancient yew tree has been proven to be over 1100 years old. A decaying shell is guarded by two living sections which are joined with metal rods and plates to keep the tree together. During the middle ages it was common to plant yew trees in churchyards as provision for defence – the wood was needed to make the English longbow.

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Leaving the warmth of the church we clumped down a ploughed field to the Cutler Brook. It was very boggy here. Clumps of golden yellow giant buttercups – marsh marigolds also called kingcups or mayblobs  and other lovers of wetland were flowering  with yellow stars of lesser celandine. Less obvious were the small flowers of opposite leaved yellow saxifrage and bog stitchwort, which with cuckoo flower and great bittercress competed with other flowers to follow. Bright blue eggs nestled in the tightly woven strands of grass of a thrushes nest, but it had been abandoned, it was too low down for safety.

Now for the exciting part. I could not believe it when I found out there were fields of wild daffodils so close to home. Apparently there are written memories from locals who remember paying to enter the fields and then being allowed to pick as many as they could.

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The fenced path to the daffodil fields is lined with egg yolk yellow cultivated daffodils which have bent in the wind whereas the wild plants are not very tall. Over the stile to the daffodil fields. Each flower has a pale yellow corolla of petals, the trumpet is canary yellow. They flower in mid-April and the show is short, this year lasting for only two weeks but a marvellous sight if you can hit the date.

It was too cold to linger long so we followed the track to the Trent Fish Farm which, it seems is no longer in use as a hatchery, the watermill here is a listed building. Among the greylag and Canada geese were four geese which may have been swan or Chinese geese who have made a home on the lake.

To keep us warm we followed the Centenary Way on a gentle uphill climb to Inn Farm Dairy which supplies delicious fresh milk in real glass bottles to refresh weary walkers on their way back to the beginning.

Marion Bryce 3 May 2018


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