Monday, 3 August 2015

Studley Royal

Entry into Fountains Abbey (VC64) also entitles you to visit the wider Studley Royal estate. This provided additional interest to the botanical riches of the Abbey ruins. In particular, the unimproved species-rich grassland outside the Banqueting House was a feast for the eyes with its carpet of Betony (Betonica officinalis) and the promise of abundant Devil's-bit Scabious (Succisa pratensis) to come.

The woodland edge provided an impressive stand of the imposing Deadly Nightshade (Atropa belladonna), as well as the additional treat of Martagon Lily (Lilium martagon). Small Teasel (Dipsacus pilosus) was also found but unfortunately it had been mown to near oblivion.

Elsewhere the interest was more subtle, with a diversity of ferns including Hard Shield-fern (Polystichum aculeatum), and a widespread colony of pink-flowered Selfheal (Prunella vulgaris f. rubriflora), which obviously comes true from seed given its abundance.

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