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An illustrated talk by Simon Harrap

Venue: Bawdeswell Village Hall, Reepham Road, NR20 4RU

Sat 16th Oct, 2021. 2pm

Simon Harrap and his wife Anne own the Wildflower Centre, nursery, gardens and Cafe, Natural Surroundings at Bayfield. Simon is a very enthusiastic botanist and bird watcher. He has had several books published on wild flowers and the pocket RSPB bird watchers guide.

He told us that almost anywhere in Norfolk one could find 200 species of wild flowers. He broke his talk down into areas, The Broads, Heathland, Arable, The Coast and The Brecks.

The Broads are flooded peat diggings where water quality is a problem with agricultural runoff which affects special aquatic plants. He showed us some wonderful slides including one of a swallowtail butterfly, they feed on milk parsley which is only found on The Broads.

Heathland is a product of the Ice Age with poor acid soil which produces heather and several types of gorse. Simon had maps showing the distribution of many plants over the whole of the UK. They showed many which only exist in Norfolk.

The arable areas have a number of wild flowers which enjoy growing on cultivated land hence the lovely fields of poppies and corn marigolds we see in the summer months.

The coast is a natural environment there is a long shingle ridge on part of the Norfolk coast where one finds the yellow horned poppy, sea holly, introduced sea pea and sea beet, sea lavender and samphire, along with other coast specific plants.

Breckland is the most distinct and special area for wild flowers. It has shallow, dry, wind blown, thin poor soil. Until the 1920s it was a treeless waste. It has a very distinctive climate, with Santon Downham often the coldest place in England overnight but warmer during the daytime. It has over 12,845 species a number of which are in need of protection.

Over 70 members and a few guests enjoyed this most educational talk, followed by tea and biscuits.

Next Event

Visit to Shropham Vicarage

Thursday 14th July

Venue: Shropham Vicarage, Church Road, Shropham NR17 1EJ.

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