Although wildflowers are fewer and farther between in the winter months., that just makes finding them even more exciting. The milder Autumn weather that we are enjoying this year has extended the wildflower season for some hardy species. Here is a November round-up of of wildflowers seen around the Bracknell/Reading area.
Sulham Woods is a really popular dog walking area, just beyond Tilehurst. The whole area is criss-crossed with footpaths. The woods slope down westwards towards the valley of Sulham Brook and the River Pang, which flow side-by-side from south to north. There are woodland and copses throughout the area, on the high ground and also on the slopes and lower down in the valley. The woodlands are interspersed with fields and open grassy stretches of countryside. In these open areas, where the winter sunlight still warms the ground, it is not too difficult to find November wildflowers.
Wild radish grows abundantly across the fields between the woods. Both the white and yellow varieties are plentiful here. Wild radish is edible and grows to a metre tall. It has dark green, deeply lobed leaves and the roots are white, long and slender with a tough outer core. Peel before eating.
Tall Melilot also grows here but there are only a few plants still flowering in November. The stems grow about up to 1.5 metres. The main stem is strongly ridged and the bright yellow, pea-like flowers grow along the smaller branch-like stems.
In the open spaces at Swinley Forest, Bracknell there are plenty of November wildflowers to be found. The woodland is part of the Crown Estate, stretching over 2,600 acres from Bracknell to Crowthorne. The Look Out is based at the edge of Swinley Forest and is a popular place to begin exploring the area.
Today, Swinley Forest is mainly comprised of Scots pine trees. Among the trees bracken, covers much of the ground and is one of the most common British ferns. Dying back in the Autumn, bracken turns orange and brown during Winter months.
Red Dead Nettle.
Red dead nettle can still be seen here in November. The leaves are aromatic, hairy and heart-shaped with toothed edges. Some leaves near the top of the plant have a lovely purple tint.
Common Field Speedwell.
Common field speedwell is a low, short and sprawling plant with branched stems and hairy leaves. Growing throughout the year in cultivated grounds, gardens, and arable fields. The pretty, blue flowers of the common field speedwell are widely seen throughout Britain.
Lesser hawkbit is a short, slightly hairy plant without leaves or leaf-like bracts on the stem. Lesser hawkbit grows in grassy places and it particularly likes sandy or chalky soils. The best months to see Lesser hawkbit flowering are from June to October.
Happy Wildflower hunting in November.
Kim Mackenzy Andrews is a children’s book author, nature writer, photographer, and artist.
Find her Nature books for children on Amazon.
Wildlife articles for nature lovers: – patch reporting for the BBC Wildlife magazine.
Kim Mackenzy Andrews Children’s Author
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