BrownhillsBob's #365daysofbiking

On a bike, riding somewhere. Every day, rain or shine.

Posts tagged ‘cowslip’

#365daysofbiking First

Wednesday March 30th 2021 – Sorry for the grainy phone photo, but I found something on my way home tonight on Clayhanger Common that always fills me with joy.

First cowslip of the year.

I know cowslips will never win any wards for complexity or outstanding beauty, but these humble members of the primrose family are so gorgeous, and herald the spring like no other flower.

Coming as the daffodils fade, they assure you that summer is indeed on its way, and when I was a child, were very rare in these parts.

Thankfully, due to declining weedkiller use, improved habitats, and guerrilla seed scatterers like me, Clayhanger Common and other grassy areas are now awash with this wonderful wildflower.

Seeing the first one of the year is always a joy to the very soul.

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#365daysofbiking By my own hand

April 13th – Easter Monday was colder. Quite bitter, in fact, so I did essential maintenance on the bikes and pottered at home, before shooting out for a late spin up the canal to test the bike out.

At Clayhanger Common the cowslips are fully in bloom now and the sight of them fill me with pride – as I scattered the seeds that formed these colonies a fair few years ago now. I collected the seed heads from a patch in Stonnall and spread the seed at various spots on Clayhanger Common, not expecting them to take hold.

But they did.

I then used seeds from those patches to expand and create new ones elsewhere on the common.

And now, they’re all over it.

Something I will always be proud of.

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#365daysofbiking Until next year, my springtime companions


May 20th – On the subject of things yellow, a seasonal sadness.

I guess it’s coming on summer now, and the first flush of flowering is well and truly over: the daffodils and tulips are long behind us, and late spring flowers like bluebells are dying off – as is my personal favourite, the cowslip.

Cowslips for me epitomise spring and the optimism of a new growing year; bright yellow, delicate and prolific now, they were once rare and I cherish seeing them as I ride around the area.

The ones I set on by guerrilla seeding at Clayhanger are going to seed now and I’ll have to wait 11 months to see these jolly characters again. But it’s be oh so worth the wait.

In the meantime I’ll carefully watch the seed heads develop and dry until the precious seed within is ready to collect, and I’ll gather a fair amount and sprinkle it in places where I think we need more springtime joy.

Until next year, my springtime companions. Until next year.

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#365daysofbiking A small ‘slip

March 20th – As if to cement my good feeling, on a grass verge in Stonnall, an annual first and my favourite flower: The cowslip.

These tough, beautiful little primroses are my absolute favourite flower and it’s always wonderful to welcome them back into my life.

Let’s hope this solitary soldier is the first of a record year!

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May 30th – A sign of the advancing season is the collection of seeds for a little guerrilla planting. Clayhanger Common has large patches of cowslips like these going to seed – the seeds are not ready yet. But when the heads dry and turn golden, I’ll be out shaking a few into a back for the precious black seeds within, which I’ll then spread to other areas that might benefit from a bit of cowslip love.

That’s how most of these delightful yellow flowers got onto Clayhanger Common in the first place…

April 26th – Clayhanger Common,early morning, not long after dawn.

Yellow army I surreptitiously helped establish here is massing around the grassland. Standing proud, in defiance of the land’s former history as a rubbish tip.

These flowers are a symbol of great progress, undercover as bright yellow, beautiful spring sentries.

May their invasion recur every year without resistance being encountered.

March 31st -Spotted on Clayhanger Common, a touch of optimism in the gloom: one of my guerrilla seeded patches of cowslips is just coming into flower.

My favourite flowers that I spread the seeds for ten years ago now have returned, and in the middle of a wet Saturday when it seemed the sun will never shine, they appeared to cheer me up.

Spring, right there.

April 18th – It was a beautiful but tough ride. Only 91 miles, so shorter than a usual dayride, but with over 2000m of vertical climb. I came from Macclesfield to Sutton Common, looped through Allgreave to Wildboarclough, then back to Wincle. Through Bearda to Gun, then down to Meerach and Tittesworth. After Lunch, back through Leek, then onto the Caldon Canal into the Churnet Valley. 

From the end of the canal at Froghall, out of the valley and back in to Oakamoor, along Dimminsdale to Alton then the cycle trail to Denstone, and home via Uttoxeter and Armitage.

It was a great ride – including the beautiful purple cowslips are Bearda, but it was exhausting. That was a hard journey and no mistake.

April 12th – A further delight of the rain on Clayhanger Common – cowslips and pear blossom bearing jewel-like raindrops. In spring, even the rain is beautiful, and sights like these, even when you’re soaked to the bone due to lack of waterproofs – gladden the heart.