June leafs through woodland’s flora

June Noble, wildflower author and her husband Lyn who took the photographs
June Noble, wildflower author and her husband Lyn who took the photographs

A new guidebook helps you leaf through the woodland wildlife at Buxton’s best-known country park.

Buxton Civic Association member June Noble has written a book which introduces beginners to the fascinating range of wildflowers in their woods at Grin Low.

The list of plants to be found there are pure poetry - Enchanter’s Nightshade, Goatsbeard, Birdsfoot Trefoil, Devilsbit Scabious and Dog’s Mercury to name but a few – even though they share their habitat at Grin Low Country Park with abandoned kilns from the town’s earliest industrial past.

A Guide to The Wild Flowers of Grin Low Country Park includes a map and photos by June’s husband Lyn, as well as descriptions to help you explore the area’s heritage.

June first became interested in wildflowers when accompanying Lyn -part of the way at least - on his mountain adventures in the Alps.

“It’s been an interest since I went into the mountains with my husband,” she said.

“He was climbing and I was looking at the Alpine flowers.

“This book is a starting point for those who are becoming interested in wild flowers. It is often difficult to put names to them and sometimes even more difficult to remember the name! A good way to start is to choose a small area with a limited number of flowers to identify. Once you have become enthusiastic it should be easier to follow a more comprehensive book on flora,” said June.

“In the past many wild plants were used for medicinal purposes, for dyes and even perfumes. Roots, stems, leaves and flowers were eaten. However, some are highly poisonous or are irritants so care should be taken if touching them. Wild flowers, shrubs and trees are part of our food chain.”

June expanded her interest in wildflowers through her membership of the Buxton University of the Third Age, sharing their knoweledge and enthusiasm on field trips in the summer to identify and record plants in the Peak District.

And Grin Low woods are a great place to start on a similar path: “It’s a brilliant place to go to get an idea of what’s in the Peak District,” said June.

The landscape on Grin Low, part of the Buxton Civic Association Country Park, shows the scars of this area’s industrial past and prehistoric associations with man’s use of the land.

From the 16th to 19th centuries small scale quarrying extracted many tons of limestone which was burned in primitive ‘pudding pie’ kilns. From the 1820s the Sixth Duke of Devonshire started a series of plantations on the hills surrounding Buxton as part of a scheme to enhance the setting of the town. Now thousands of broadleaf trees are mature, the ground has developed into an important wildlife habitat with many lime-loving plants and flowers in the woods and glades.

The Country Park is now a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) reflecting the rarity of the varied range of flora and fauna found here.

This book will help you to identify many wild flowers to be found in these lovely woods and precious limestone glades.