NatureSpot Wildlife Guide
Newtown Linford, Groby Lane Verge

This verge supports some interesting wildlife and has been designated as a Local Wildlife Site. Here are a few of the species found there. To find out more and see the full list of recorded species, visit the verge Wild Place page on the NatureSpot website. Click on any header to visit the NatureSpot page for that species to find out more.

Photo of Selfheal


This is one of the few plants that can flower in mown grass. It can grow taller but when mown it adapts by flowering on very short stalks.

How to ID: Low plant with paired, usually hairy, leaves. The flowers are deep violet blue, set into a wine-coloured cylinder-shaped head.

Where to see it: Lawns, verges, short grassland.

Similar species: None

Photo of Hogweed


The large, white flower platforms provide one of the best food sources for pollinators, bringing a great opportunity to view visiting insects such as bees, beetles and hoverflies.

How to ID: Up to 2m tall. Flower 'umbels' to 20cm. Unique leaf shape.

Where to see it: Verges, hedges, rough ground - likes nutrient-rich soil.

Similar species: Giant Hogweed is similar but much larger (and quite rare).

Photo of Bulbous Buttercup

Bulbous Buttercup

One of three buttercup species found in meadow grassland. As the name suggests, it has an underground bulb that gives it the resources to flower early in the year.

How to ID: Look for the downward pointing sepals under the flowers.

Where to see it: Meadows and verges.

Similar species: Meadow Buttercup and Creeping Buttercup (neither have the downward pointing sepals).

Photo of Pignut


This small umbellifer flowers in early summer (May-July). It is an indicator species of quality meadow grassland and is also the caterpillar foodplant for the Chimney Sweeper moth - so both are often found together.

How to ID: Typically grows to 30-40cm, with a delicate 'umbel' of white flowers and very fine, feathery leaves.

Where to see it: Established grassland.

Similar species: Other umbellifers, such as Cow Parsley and Hedge Parsley are similar but are generally taller and their leaves not as fine.

Photo of Common Knapweed

Common Knapweed

This is a classic meadow flower, found in most quality grassland habitats. It is a rich nectar source for many insects and also supports numerous invertebrates that only feed on knapweeds.

How to ID: Pink/purple thistle-like flowers, typically growing to 80cm (June to September).

Where to see it: Meadows and verges.

Similar species: Greater Knapweed is much larger, has deeply lobed leaves and long, frilly petals.

Photo of Yorkshire-fog


A very soft grass - covered in fine hairs (its scientific name 'lanatus' means woolly). Supposedly named because from a distance the flowering grass looks like low-lying smoke, such as that from Yorkshire factories.

How to ID: Stems soft and hairy. The flowers have a pink tinge when fresh, getting more straw-coloured with age. Base of the stems have red stripes.

Where to see it: Most grassland habitats.

Similar species: Creeping Soft-grass has similar flowers but hairless stems (apart from the hairy joints).

Photo of Common Red Soldier Beetle

Common Red Soldier Beetle

Soldier beetles get their name from their bright colours, resembling military uniforms from long ago. This can be a very common beetle, sometimes found in numbers on some flowers, such as Hogweed.

How to ID: Red/orange body with a black tip.

Where to see it: Visiting flowers in meadows and verges.

Similar species: None.

Photo of Marmalade Hoverfly

Marmalade Hoverfly

This is commonest hoverfly in the UK and has been seen in every month of the year. It hibernates over the winter, emerging on warm days. Numbers are also boosted by large migrations from mainland Europe.

How to ID: Orange and black 'moustache' black bands on the abdomen. Sometimes white bands as well.

Where to see it: Hovering and resting on flowers and vegetation.

Similar species: Many hoverflies have black and yellow stripes to mimic wasps.

Photo of Birch Catkin Bug

Birch Catkin Bug

This bug breeds on the seeds of birch trees. In summer, groups of nymphs can be seen on catkins. In Spring, the male emits a rasping sound to attract a mate.

How to ID: Small (3mm). Rust coloured with darker dots.

Where to see it: On or around Birch trees.

Similar species: None.

Photo of Cucumber Green Orb Spider

Cucumber Green Orb Spider

This spider spins a small web between leaves and feeds on the small flying insects it catches. It doesn't hide but relies on its green colour for camouflage.

How to ID: Up to 8mm. Pale green with a red spot at the tip of its body.

Where to see it: On the leaves of trees and bushes.

Similar species: Araniella opisthographa is almost identical so we record both as a single group.

Guide last updated in June 2023.