Signs of spring: woodland wildflowers, by Mark O'Sullivan

Wild garlic
Spring is wildflower season in our woods. Any relatively undisturbed patch of woodland will host a wide variety of beautiful flowering plants from March until June. We are lucky in Frodsham that many of our green spaces are wooded and hold many varieties of wildflowers; a gorgeous spectacle for visitors to enjoy and a great reason to get out and enjoy Frodsham’s green spaces. A walk through Frodsham’s woodland wildflowers can be an unforgettable experience.

Usually, the first to appear, is lesser celandine. This herald of spring produces can produce large carpets of sunny-yellow flowers brightening the area even on a dull still wintry day. The flowers provide a really important source of nectar for bees, so early in the year. Lesser celandine is also known as 'pilewort' and, yes, it was actually used to treat piles!
Lesser celandine
Opposite-leaved golden saxifrage
Around the same time as lesser celandine appears the little flower with a big name: opposite-leaved golden saxifrage. These flowers, which grow in dark wet corners, are tiny but subtly beautiful. They are quite common but easy to overlook.

In early April, wood anemones appear. Again, these can produce quite large carpets of spectacularly brilliant white flowers. Also blooming in April are wood sorrel. These don’t form large clumps, but often flower on top moss-covered stumps; delicate white against the wet moss. Primroses may also be found at this time, their bright yellow blooms a nice contrast with the white of the anemones and wood sorrel.

Contrasting with the large bunches of flowers produced by the other April flowers, ‘lords and ladies’ are much less common, often single or tiny groups. They are spectacular; a large central spike, surrounded by a yellowish hood. Once seen they’re difficult to miss!
Wood anemone
Wood sorrel
Lords and ladies
The above flowers precede the main event: bluebells and wild garlic. These flower in late April to mid-May and can cover vast areas. Where wild garlic is present, the air will be filled with a pungent garlic smell. Bluebells also have a scent, but it’s much less noticeable than the garlic!

After the bluebells and garlic, flowers wood avens and red campion. Wood avens are tall, yellow flowers, that can appear almost anywhere. Red campion, as the name suggests has a bright red flower on top of a tall stem. These final flowers can be present until September so flowers can still be enjoyed during the summer.
Red campion

So where can we find these wildflowers in Frodsham? Well, Castle Park is a good place to start. Near to the play area is a relatively wild area, chock full of lesser celandine, bluebells and wild garlic. Opposite-leaved golden saxifrage appears near the stream. These wildflowers provide a lovely contrast to the cultivated blooms elsewhere in the park.

For a walk where you’re unlikely to see anyone else, try Marl Pit. This deep, tree-lined depression has an impressive display of bluebells; a delight to see. Red campion appears, here, too.

Snidley Moor has its own marked bluebell walk! Here, as the name suggests, the path wanders through carpets of these cerulean blooms, beneath the oak and birch tree canopy above. Other places to see some bluebells include Manley Road and Wheeldon Copses.

Of course, the crowning glory for Frodsham’s wildflowers is Hob Hey Wood. All of the flowers mentioned above thrive here; there are tens of thousands of bluebells and great rafts of wild garlic giving a delight to the senses for a spring walk. Other flowers grown here, too numerous to mention here.

Apple blossom

When looking for wildflowers, don’t forget our community orchards. Hob Hey Wood, Ship Street, Bowden’s Lock, Churchfields and Hawthorne Road orchards should be full of beautifully blooming fruit trees, a prelude to the bountiful fruit appearing in late summer.

The list of green spaces containing spring wildflowers listed above is by no means exhaustive. Why not get out and about and see what you can see?

With thanks to Mark for the blog piece and all the fantastic photos!

Share your pictures of woodland wildflowers or any other signs of spring by tagging us on social media @frodshamroots, use #springinfrodsham or email them to - don't forget to say where your picture is taken!


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