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Botanical interests

30th Jun 2021

Upper Weardale has plenty of botanical interest, shaped by its unique history and variety of habitats and plant communities. Though far less well known than the Arctic-Alpine assemblage found in Upper Teesdale, the flora boasts national rarities and species typical of upland dales.

Image: Female Red Campion flower with curly stigmas (c) Heather Kelly

Weardale offers a wide range of habitats and a diverse flora which means there is always something new and interesting to find when you wander slightly off the beaten track. It has the big advantage that, apart at from a few locations close to the river itself, you will probably have the countryside largely to yourself, to explore in peace.

Image: Traditional Upland Hay Meadow (c) Heather Kelly

Notable botanical finds in Weardale include rare Lady's Mantle species, two nationally scarce ferns - Limestone Oak Fern and Rigid Buckler Fern - and Thread Rush. Other scarce species include Pale Forget-me-not, Marsh Saxifrage and Mossy Saxifrage, Ivy-leaved Bellflower and Intermediate Wintergreen. Grasslands, especially lower down the valley around Auckland Park, host many of the brightly coloured Waxcap fungi (Hygrocybe spp.), such as Blackening Waxcap (H. conica).

There is so much more about Weardale FLORA to learn. For a summary of all that there is to explore about visit the Natural History of Upper Weardale online and for the full story open the Chapter PDF and for future reference download a copy.

The Natural History of Upper Weardale is also available in print format from Durham Wildlife Trust.