Species Information

This page will contain photos and information on all the New Species.

If we run out of new species we will use this page to display information on some of the species found in the Dene.

Total Number of Recorded Species in the Brierdene  31/03/2018

 Groups  Number
  Bats    3
  Bugs & Beatles    47
    Bumblebees - Bees - Solitary Bees    13
Butterflies    21
   Centipedes    1
Crustaceans    5
   Dragonflies    6
Fish and Amphibians    5
  Flies    48
  Fungi    39
Harvestman    2
  Ladybirds    8
Mammals    9
  Molluscs    9
Lichen, Liverworts Mosses and Slime
  Moths & Miners   151
  Plants, Bushes & Trees    321
  Reptiles     1
  Wasps    8
 Worms    11

No new species were found during April


Snake's head Fritillary   Fritillaria meleagris

Snake's head fritillaries always excite attention wherever they are seen. None of the other lovely members of the fritillaria genus can match this native wildflower for the bizarre and unmistakable colouring of its bell-shaped flowers. They are various shades of purple, always with a pronounced checked pattern all over, and even the luminous white form has a faint check pattern like a watermark.


Fritillaria meleagrisis native to Europe and western Asia but in many places it is an endangered species that is rarely found in the wild but is commonly grown in gardens.


In the United Kingdom there is some disagreement amongst botanists as to whether Fritillaria meleagris is a native species or a long-established garden escapee. The plant was first described in the 16th century by herbalist John Gerard who had only known of it as a garden plant and it was not recorded in the wild until 1736, which has led some to argue that it must be an escapee.However, the fact that its habitat is usually confined to ancient hay meadows and it does not easily spread to adjoining land, leads others to the conclusion that it is a native species which became isolated from the European population when Britain was cut off from mainland Europe after the last glacial period.


The plant was once abundant in the UK, particularly in the Thamas Valley and parts of Wiltshire, and was collected in vast quantities to be sold as a cut flower in the markets of London, Oxford and Birmingham.


During World War II most of the ancient meadows were ploughed up and turned over to the production of food crops, destroying much of the plant's habitat.


Although a popular garden plant it is now rare in the wild, although there are some notable sites where it is still found, mainly in Oxfordshire, Wiltshire and Suffolk following a poll by the wild flora conservation charity Plantlife.


Snake's head Fritillary in the dene was found on the eastern bank just to the right of the tree in the photo above.  Two plants were also found on the north bank in the middle reach.

We have planted additional bulbs along to north bank in the middle and lower reaches, and are trying to establish a small Snake's Head meadow at the east end of the lower dene photo below.