Pillwort is back at Skipwith!

23rd October 2017

Skipwith Common is a Flagship Pond site near York. It has a fascinating history, both socially and naturally. Pillwort is a great part of that.

Pillwort is perhaps the most notable wetland plant known from Skipwith Common. There’s even a pond named after it! But in recent years, there’s been no sign of the little aquatic fern. 

Our Flagship Pond project work at Skipwith Common has focused around telling people how fabulous the ponds and the Pillwort are, and training and supporting volunteers to monitor the ponds and their wildlife. We’ve also been able to bring in funding to create new ponds and manage ‘Pillwort Pond’ in the hope that Pillwort will regenerate from spores in the soil (thank you, Heritage Lottery Fund!).

It’s too soon to see results from the pond works, but our tendency to chatter excitedly about Pillwort has paid off. Last week, Mike Wilcox decided to keep an eye out for Pillwort on a Yorkshire Naturalist Union visit to Skipwith Common, after another local naturalist we’d been surveying with mentioned it.

And there it was! Pillwort. Lovely, lush lawns of it. Just in one pond. But that’s enough for us. For now.

Much of this pond’s margins are steep or thick with rushes, but there are a few shallow, open areas where Pillwort can grow.

Here are some more photos project officer Anne took when she went to check it out herself. Plus ponies.

Thanks, Mike, for taking the time to look, and sharing what you’ve found with us.