Ketford Daffodil Bank
The Newent area is famous for its wild daffodils, once common but now sadly mainly found only in areas managed by wildlife organisation. The daffodils were once so numerous that they were picked in large numbers. The wild daffodils still grow here in the spring, although they are now protected and no longer picked in great numbers and sent to market, as they once were. As much of the land in Pauntley has remained pasture for many years, wild daffodils thrive in a number of areas, and many local farmers and landowners also manage the land for their benefit with careful timing of grazing by sheep and cattle.
Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust (GWT) now owns and manages Ketford Bank, an important site for wild daffodils. A floral survey was carried out on Ketford Daffodil Bank in the early 1990s and showed a rich variety of flora, containing some rare species. Following several years of neglect at the site, it was taken into ownership by GWT in 2010 and they now manage it with the help of their flock of Hebridean sheep, which are put in to graze the reserve out of daffodil season to keep the vegetation down.
The site is located in the Leadon valley at Ketford and can be reached along the bridleway from Ketford to Dymock, where GWT has an information board just inside the gate to the reserve, which is open at all times unless stock are grazing there. This is one of the Poet’s Paths, named after the Dymock Poets who lived in the area just before the First World War and who were attracted to it by its remoteness and its picturesque scenery. Edward Thomas, Robert Frost, John Drinkwater, Wilfred Wilson Gibson and Lascelles Abercombie all lived in neighbouring parishes for a time and brought with them other famous visitors, such as Rupert Brooke, Eleanor Farjeon and Ivor Gurney. The natural beauty of the area inspired many of their poems, particularly those of Gibson. More information on the Dymock Poets can be found on the website of the Friends of the Dymock Poets on http://www.dymockpoets.co.uk.
Other areas where you can see good displays of wild daffodils are Wormes Meadow in Pool Hill, running along the side of the lane from the Old Chapel to Harridge Coppice, and on the wooded banks of Great Harridge, close to the River Leadon near Durbridge. They are several other fields running alongside the Leadon in the parish where the damp ground is ideal for their needs.
For more information on Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust