Armed with bamboo canes to make quadrats and a few wildflower ID books we set off into the meadows with some great volunteers to do some surveying of the flowers and grasses. We started with the first quadrat, that we did all together, and set off identifying the bent grasses from the fescues and meadow grasses, and the rough hawkbits from the autumn hawkbits; you need to look to see if the hairs on the leaves are forked or not, and a hand lens is definitely needed for that!
We split up into 2 teams and zig-zagged through the meadow to find where we finished the day before. We slowly got quicker at identifying the flowers and after the first couple of quadrats we were on a roll; finding lots of different species such as yellow rattle, self-heal, eyebright and lesser trefoil. It was certainly a great way to make sure I had remembered all the flowers and grasses from the courses and walks I’ve been on! After a break for lunch we cracked on with more surveys and spent the rest of the afternoon finishing off the meadow. Now back to the office to collate the data.
There are definitely worse days than spending it sat in a flower meadow in the sun identifying flowers!
Rachel, student placement volunteer
Work at Eycott Hill Nature Reserve is possible thanks to National Lottery Players, and support from the Heritage Lottery Fund.