Backside Common may see small fleabane return

Small fleabane The small fleabane was once a relatively common wild flower in southern England

Related Stories

Conservationists are hoping the re-introduction of grazing will lead to the return of a flower not seen on a Surrey common for over 10 years.

Surrey Wildlife Trust (SWT) said the small fleabane had not been sighted on Backside Common since 2000.

The rare plant flourishes on land trampled or grazed by livestock, so three belted Galloway cattle were introduced to the common last winter.

Botanists are surveying the site regularly looking for germination.

The small fleabane, an annual plant with multiple yellow flowers, germinates in spring and summer and blooms between July and October.

It was once relatively common in southern England but populations have fallen since the late 19th Century with the decline in traditional farming methods.

It is now one of Britain's most threatened native flowers.

The grazing of cattle ceased on Backside Common, near Guildford, in 2001 after the retirement of the local farmer.

"We are pleased to see the return of cattle as there is no reason to believe that the small fleabane population should not recover," said SWT area manager Charlotte Williams.

"We will continue to monitor the area throughout the summer months and graze the common every winter from January through to April."

More on This Story

Related Stories

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites

BBC Surrey

Weather

Guildford

Min. Night 15 °C

Features

  • Nigel Farage (left) and Douglas CarswellWho's next?

    The Tory MPs being tipped to follow Carswell to UKIP


  • A painting of the White House on fire by Tom FreemanFinders keepers

    The odd objects looted by the British from Washington in 1814


  • President Barack Obama pauses during a press conference on 28 August.'No strategy'

    Obama's gaffe on Islamic State reveals political truth


  • Chris and Regina Catrambone with their daughter Maria LuisaSOS

    The millionaires who rescue people at sea


  • Plane7 days quiz

    What unusual offence got a Frenchman thrown off a plane?


BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.