NatureSpot Wildlife Guide
Newtown Linford, Markfield Lane Verge

This verge is one of the best quality meadow grasslands we have found. Here are a few of the species seen here. To find out more about the project and to see a full list of all the wildlife recorded on the site, visit the feature Wild Place page for the verge on NatureSpot. Click on any header to visit the NatureSpot page for that species to find out more.

Photo of Cuckooflower


Also called Lady's Smock. It is the main caterpillar food plant for the Orange-tip Butterfly.

How to ID: Short, clusters of pale lilac flowers on a single stem.

Where to see it: Damp grassland, April-June.

Similar species: None.

Photo of Lady's Bedstraw

Lady's Bedstraw

Though related to the familiar Cleavers (or Sticky Willy), it lacks the prickles and has clouds of lovely yellow flowers. When dried it has a sweet smell and was used for stuffing mattresses - hence its common name.

How to ID: Dark, green leaves in whorls, frothy yellow flowers.

Where to see it: Meadows and verges.

Similar species: None.

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 Meadow Crane's-bill

Meadow Crane's-bill

The largest of our native geraniums and an indicator plant of undisturbed meadows.

How to ID: Large violet-blue flowers and a classic geranium leaf - round and deeply divided. Flowers June-September.

Where to see it: Meadows and verges.

Similar species: None (except for garden geraniums).

Photo of Goldilocks Buttercup agg.

Goldilocks Buttercup agg.

This is a less common buttercup and a species usually found in woodland.

How to ID: Yellow 'buttercup' flowers, basal leaves round and divided, upper leaves strap-like.

Where to see it: Woodland and sometimes shady meadows.

Similar species: Other buttercups but none with leaves like this one.

Photo of Hedge Woundwort

Hedge Woundwort

A handsome plant found in shaded habitats and a strong favourite of bumblebees.

How to ID: Dark purple/red flowers in a spiked whorl, to 1.2m. The heart-shaped leaves have an unpleasant smell.

Where to see it: Hedgerows, ditches and shady places.

Similar species: Marsh Woundwort has pale pink flowers.

Photo of Dog's Mercury

Dog's Mercury

A classic woodland plant that can spread to form large patches. It is an indicator species for ancient woodland, though persists in hedges away from woodland.Many insects rely on this plant as a food source.

How to ID: Flowers February to April, to 30cm. Pointed, toothed leaves and tiny yellow flowers.

Where to see it: Woodlands, hedgerows.

Similar species: Enchanter's Nightshade is another woodland floor plant but this flowers later in the year (from June).

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 Swollen-thighed Beetle

Swollen-thighed Beetle

This lovely beetle has become increasingly common and is often seen feeding on a wide range of flowers. The 'Chris Hoy' of the beetle world.

How to ID: 8-10mm. Metallic, shiny green. Males with hugely inflated back legs.

Where to see it: Visiting flowers, particularly Hogweed and Yarrow.

Similar species: Odemera livida is found in similar places but is smaller (6mm) and is a dull, not shiny, green.

Photo of Red-legged Shieldbug

Red-legged Shieldbug

This shieldbug is partly predatory, feeding on caterpillars as well as fruit. It overwinters in trees as a nymph. Shieldbugs get their name from their shape.

How to ID: To 14mm. Brown with orange/cream spots along its hind margins and a central orange spot. Red legs and pointed 'shoulders'.

Where to see it: Woodland, shady places and gardens.

Similar species: Other shieldbugs have a similar shape but none have these colours and patterns.

Guide last updated in June 2023.