Spring Wild Flowers on Cycleway 23

When I’m out on walks along the cycle paths – specifically cycle route 23, between Sandown and Newport, I often wonder what all the assortment of wild flowers are. I have always known a few from being told as a child but many I’ve never known or forgotten, so I thought I’d take photos and then try and identify them and then tell you.

I found out it’s actually very difficult to confirm and takes experience. You need to take account of the season, the habitat and importantly look at the leaves as well as the flower, as some wild flowers are remarkably similar.

So here are a collection of some of the wild flowers I’ve seen during my spring walks on the Isle of Wight along Cyclepath 23. See how many you can spot on your walks...

Dandelion and Dandelion Clocks

Very common, spotted from bright yellow square-tipped pompoms and arrowhead leaves, loved by guinea pigs. Most fun in fruit form, when picked as dandelion clocks, and then blown into the wind.

Oxeye Daisy

Ooo-look! It’s a big daisy, look! Like daisies only bigger. Really easy to spot. Large, saw-like leaves at base of stem help differentiate them from scented mayweed flowers.


Neither a glove nor a fox. Pink, trumpet-shaped flowers that usually grow on one side of the stem.

Red Campion

Confusingly, not red, but pink, though you can see them in white and lighter shades of pink. Hirsute stem and leaves.

Greater Stitchwort

Can be confused with white campion, but look for yellow middle (stamen and pistil).

Wood Anemone

6 pointed star-shaped white petals, streaked pink underneath, with raggy-jagged leaves and not always found in woods.

Cow Parsley

These white clusters of flowers are easy to spot, growing tall, flanking the paths, with ribbed stems and fern-like leaves. Nobody has yet proved if cows think they are parsley.

Creeping Buttercup

Shiny yellow flowers, trailing stems and hairy leaves. Hold close to a person’s chin on a sunny day to see if the shiny reflection confirms if they like butter - or margarine. Fact.

Of course there are loads more and some I couldn't identify reliably enough. I think I need more practice. Happy spotting on a cycleway or footpath near you!

Philip Bell Author Photo by Chris Cowley

2 May 2016

By Philip Bell in The locals' blogs