Marshes and flushes
Where soils are normally wet, they can develop
either as marshes, on flatter ground, or flushes, where the ground
Marshy grasslands are very similar to other types
of grassland and wetland but occur in wet hollows and next to streams
and do have typical wetland herbs, unlike acidic and neutral grasslands
which usually are species-poor.
Where calcium enriches the soil, plants such as
grass-of-Parnassus and bird's-eye primrose are found. The acid areas
are less interesting but some characteristic species are found,
for instance marsh pennywort.
Greenfield Meadow, at the head of Wharfedale, contains
a tall fen with locally dominant tufted hair-grass, common knapweed,
meadowsweet, and soft rush, lady's mantle, marsh marigold, water
avens, bogbean, marsh valerian, and marsh violet. There are also
species-rich calcareous flushes dominated by long-stalked yellow-sedge
and carnation sedge. Common twayblade, grass-of-Parnassus, marsh
lousewort and common butterwort make an interesting association.
The area is also known as a blackcock lek.
At Moss End, at Oughtershaw, there are a number
of base-rich flushes, with bird's-eye primrose, marsh hawk's-beard,
marsh valerian, common butterwort and a variety of sedges. The herb-rich
grassland in which the flushes appear has blue moor-grass, wild
thyme and salad burnet, with orchids, creeping willow, kidney vetch,
flat-sedge and broad-leaved cottongrass.
Above Kettlewell there are many places where lime-rich
water flushes the soil and purple moor-grass, the nationally scarce
bird's-eye primrose, butterwort, grass-of-Parnassus and marsh valerian
can be found. Where damp areas have developed a peaty covering black
bog-rush, marsh lousewort, broad-leaved cottongrass and northern
The calcareous flushes in the Malham-Arncliffe
area have a number of uncommon bryophytes including Catoscopium
nigritum and Meesia uliginosa with Orthothecium rufescens
on damp limestone cliffs. Along the wood/pasture boundary of Scoska
Wood are flushes with orchids, broad-leaved cotton-grass, grass-of-Parnassus,
marsh arrowgrass, marsh valerian and birds-eye primrose.
Along Pen-y-ghent Gill are numerous flushes with
marsh arrowgrass, bird's-eye primrose, grass-of-Parnassus, few-flowered
spikerush and scurvy-grass.
A particularly rich flush is to be found at Kilnsey,
where a fen is dissected by springs from the limestone. To the centre
there is a tussocky community of purple moor-grass, black bog-rush
and various rushes, with blue moor-grass and a number of sedges
including carnation sedge, long-stalked yellow sedge and tawny sedge.
Flowering plants include the local narrow-leaved marsh orchid, marsh
helleborine, early marsh orchid, broadleaved cotton-grass, lesser
club-moss, pepper saxifrage, grass-of-Parnassus and bird's-eye primrose.
Around this is a tall-herb fen community with water avens, meadowsweet,
great burnet, devil's-bit scabious, wild angelica and marsh valerian.
Flushes on the acidic Barden and Blubberhouses
moors are home to bog pimpernel and bog pondweed. The nationally
scarce species, pale forget-me-not occurs in a number of places.
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Marshes and flushes