The Wild Flower Group meets during the spring and summer (from mid-May to mid-September) on the second and fourth Fridays of the month.
Our walks (or 'ambles' might be a better word to use!) are arranged so that we visit a varied selection of habitats and countryside throughout the season.
Locations close to Chesterfield are usually half-day trips; those which are further afield in the Peak District or elsewhere in Derbyshire last until mid-afternoon and we take a picnic lunch.
No previous knowledge is required - just a willingness to see and admire wild flowers in their natural settings. We are only a small group - the number of people on our outings has varied from four to eight people - new members are always welcome.
Chesterfield U3A Wild Flower Group in 2014
This year we had a successful programme of nine walks with no cancellations for bad weather, although we got a bit damp on a couple of occasions.
We started with woodland walks through Whitwell Wood and Linacre Woods in May, and ended with a September visit to moorland and heathland on the National Trust's Longshaw estate.
In between we went to limestone grassland sites such as Lathkill Dale, to country parks such as Pleasley and Poolsbrook, and looked for wetland plants at Chesterfield Canal and Barlow Brook fisheries. The highest number of different plants recorded was in Lathkill Dale, with Chesterfield Canal towpath a close second.
We were able to identify most of the plants we saw with certainty, with a few requiring some research after the walk, but we get as much, if not more, pleasure from just seeing the flowers in their natural surroundings. Sometimes it is an individual flower which enthrals us, sometimes it is the mass of colour from a cluster of flowers.
More people have come on our walks this year than in previous years, which is very encouraging.
The highest number was 14 people on the Chesterfield Canal walk, with over half the walks achieving double-figure attendances - a level not previously recorded since I became the Group Co-ordinator.