Many families go for a bracing winter walk to work off the effects of the Christmas festivities, why not add to the interest and see which wildflowers you can find.

The Botanical Society of Britain & Ireland has been running a New Year Plant Hunt for the last dozen years and they are asking families to join in.

It is not difficult and you definitely don’t need a lot of botanical knowledge, in fact you might pick some up on the way. The BSBI provide lots of help including a very useful app for your smart phone that will do most of the work for you. What you find will help scientists keep track of how our natural world is changing and this will help them to plan conservation measures so that our grandchildren will be able to enjoy a natural environment rich with flowers, butterflies, bees and other creatures.

We are lucky in the Sid valley, we have a mild climate that allows plants to flower outside of the months that you might read in books. I found 18 different species flowering around the town and beach area on New Year’s Day in 2023. Since the 2021 Wild Flower Survey carried out by volunteers from the Biodiversity Group we have found over 60 species of plant in flower around the valley in January.

Some flowers such as the dandelion and common daisy are expected to be in flower all year, very useful to over wintering insects such as queen bumblebees which need to find food if they wake up on a mild day. One favourite with the bees is sweet violet which usually begins flowering in February, but ours have been in flower since before Christmas. You might see the purple flowers of bush vetch and tufted vetch which generally only flower from May to August.

All the details, including links to spotters’ guides and the app can be found on the BSBI website A report on the local finds will be on the Biodiversity Group website by the end of January.

So, wrap up warm and enjoy a walk with added interest