Spring flowers and ancient woodlands
The bank along Great Head Lane at Hilfield is full of early spring flowers, many of these are what are known as ‘Ancient Woodland Indicators’. These are species that like to grow in the shade of trees and which are slow spreading. If there are a lot of them it suggests that the ground has had trees growing over it for a long time.
Plants growing under the trees’ canopy need to make the most of the sunlight before the trees’ leaves grow and block out much of the sun. That is why woodland species are often the earliest to grow and flower whilst they still have light.