Dr. M.E. Bradshaw’s Teesdale Special Flora

Research and Conservation Trust

Upper Teesdale is a special place.  Vast upland fells, bleak in places, give way to rough pastures and the meadows on the banks of the River Tees.  In Spring, if you are lucky, you will discover the unmistakable Spring Gentian. The small, vivid blue flowers are a famous symbol of this magnificent landscape and its special array of plant species.  Geology, glaciation and climate have created a unique habitat that makes Upper Teesdale world-renowned as a botanical hotspot. LINK TO TEESDALE SPECIAL FLORA PAGE

Found nowhere else in mainland Britain, the Spring Gentian, along with other rare flowers and sedges, faces an uncertain future.  Recent surveys show the shocking result that on average, the special plants have gone from over half of the areas they grew in forty years ago. This includes Spring Gentian, Yellow Saxifrage and Alpine Cinquefoil.

But this flora has a redoubtable champion in the eminent botanist Dr Margaret Bradshaw MBE.  Margaret has recorded plants here since the 1960s and she is still pursuing  her passion. Now 94 years old, she continues her work, making it onto the upper fells with the help of a Dales pony and enthusing experts and amateurs alike by sharing her extensive knowledge.  LINK TO MEB PAGE

This devotion has created an extraordinary legacy of records going back six decades, which can be used as a comparison to show exactly what has changed to the plant community over time.  Now Margaret has set up Dr M E Bradshaw’s Teesdale Special Flora Research and Conservation Trust to carry on her work into the future. 

Detailed surveying is a crucial part of the Trust’s work, because it provides data that can be used to see what is happening to the plants.  This information can then be used to guide decisions on the way the land is managed, for example decisions on grazing and cutting practices. The results will also help us to understand the effects of climate change on this unique habitat.   LINK TO 3 YR REPORT

These are difficult times but looking to the future, you can help to conserve this ancient treasure-store of plants for generations to come.

It costs about £10 to survey a 10 metre x 10 metre plot.

… and there’s a lot of fell and pasture to survey! To start with, we hope to survey another 2,000 plots in 2020 so that’s £20,000.  JUST GIVING LINK

Please take a look at our other sections to find our more about the beautiful rare plants of Upper Teesdale.  More sections will be added in the coming year.

LATEST NEWS:  Margaret’s new book will be available shortly LINK TO FLYER