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West Beckham Old Allotments

The existing Blackthorn and Hawthorn hedgerows have been supplemented with our

plantings, with varieties including Hazel, Guelder Rose, Dogwood, Hornbeam, Oak,

Field Maple, Spindle, Crab Apple, Rowan, Holly and Silver Birch which provide

spring flowers and autumn colour and berries for the winter. The boundary hedges

include a number of mature Oak and Sweet Chestnut trees.


The eastern part of the site is being managed as a wildflower meadow which comes

into its prime in late May to September. Species include Knapweed (June-

September); Common Centaury (June-October); Common Cudweed (July-August) –

a near-threatened plant that has its stronghold in East Anglia; Common Ragwort

(June-October) – the food plant of the striking yellow and black striped Cinnabar

Moth caterpillar; Cut-leaved Crane’s-bill (May-August); Grey Field-speedwell (March-

November) – a species in decline; Hop Trefoil (May-October); Red Campion (April-

October); Red Clover (May-September) and Tufted Vetch (June-August).


Around the perimeter of the field and among the hedges a variety of plants provide

food and habitat for invertebrates, including hedgerow plants such as Black

Horehound (June-October), Hedge Woundwort (June-September) and Stinging

Nettle (May-September); and climbers like Hedge Bindweed (July-September),

Honeysuckle (June-September), Ivy (which provides late nectar as it flowers in

September-November), Large Bindweed (July-September), and White Bryony (May-

September).


The scarce cornfield annual Corn Spurrey grows in the disturbed soil of the pit on the

northern side of the site.


The butterfly bank is a riot of floral colour in the summer, featuring pollen-rich

species such as Oxeye Daisy (May-September), Viper’s Bugloss (June-September –

popular with bees as well as butterflies – and Wild Carrot (June-August), otherwise

known as Queen Anne’s Lace.


The wildflower meadow attracts a plethora of butterflies including Brimstone (April-

May and August), Common Blue (May-June and August), Essex Skipper (July-

August), Holly Blue (April-May and August), Meadow Brown (July-August), Painted

Lady (June-August), Ringlet (July), Small Skipper (July-August) and Small

Tortoiseshell (April-September), and you may be lucky enough to spot an elusive

Purple Hairstreak flying at the tops of the hedges in July-August. In autumn the Ivy

attracts hordes of Red Admirals.


The flowers in the meadow and hedge also draw in many bees, hoverflies and other

invertebrates.


The pond attracts dragonflies and damselflies, including Azure Damselfly (May-

August), Emperor Dragonfly (June-August), Black-tailed Skimmer (May-August) and

Broad-bodied Chaser (May-August), as well as providing a home for Whirligig

Beetles and Pond Skaters. A Grey Heron is a regular visitor.


As well as the Feral Pigeons that frequently occupy the telegraph wires across the

field, our resident Kestrel may be seen hunting over the field, and you may hear the

“kik” call of a Great Spotted Woodpecker.


In the spring and summer, you are likely to see or hear typical countryside birds such

as Common Chiffchaff, Blackcap, Whitethroat and Skylark, while Swallows and

House Martins swoop overhead. In the colder months, flocks of winter finches and

buntings, including Yellowhammer and Goldfinch are likely to visit.


Our bird feeders attract Blue Tits, Coal Tits, Long-tailed Tits, Chaffinches and

Dunnock.


An early morning visit may provide you with a glimpse of a Rabbit, Hare or a Roe

Deer.


For a full list of the flora and fauna spotted at our sites, see our Species Lists 

Project Gallery

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