Lake District in Summer. A Mountain Leaders Guide to Cumbrian Flora

For lots of trainee mountain leaders there is a whole host of things you need to learn.  I, for example, have a very poor retention of types of birds (ornithology).  The fact that my ML trainer pointed out the buzzard I had spotted was a crow is testament to my last statement.  So to make up for a lack of knowledge in one area I thrust myself into studying the flowers, moss and lichen of the UK.  The Lake District is home to a wide variety of plant species and if you’re keen to educate yourself too then here is my handy guide to a few of the wild flowers you might see on your walk through the Lakes.  Whilst this doesn’t form a definitive list I hope it helps you to begin identifying and appreciating the abundance of flora next time you visit.

Common Knapweed - Centaurea nigra
Common Knapweed – Centaurea nigra
Bog Asphodel - Narthecium ossifragum
Bog Asphodel – Narthecium ossifragum
Round-leaved Sundew - Drosera rotundifolia
Round-leaved Sundew – Drosera rotundifolia
Butterwort - Pinguicula vulgaris
Butterwort – Pinguicula vulgaris
Milkwort - Polygala vulgaris
Milkwort – Polygala vulgaris
Heath Milkwort - Polygala serpyllifolia and Polytrichum moss.
Heath Milkwort – Polygala serpyllifolia and Polytrichum moss.
Wild Thyme - Thymus polytrichus
Wild Thyme – Thymus polytrichus
Common Foxglove - Digitalis purpurea
Common Foxglove – Digitalis purpurea
Harebell - Campanula rotundifolia
Harebell – Campanula rotundifolia
Cotton Grass - Eriophorum
Cotton Grass – Eriophorum

Bog Pimpernel - Anagallis tenella
Bog Pimpernel – Anagallis tenella


P.S.  If you don’t know, don’t be afraid to ask!  I had no idea on a number of these but with a little research using my trusty Collins Wildflowers book and my new friends at the Cumbria Botany Group on Facebook even I am learning more.  Now where’s that buzzard gone to?

Mick Fenwick

Mountain Leader, D of E Co-Ordinator, Deputy Headteacher

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