Stansted Airport has teamed up with the National Trust to save a rare and endangered flower growing near the runway.

The Oxlip, a delicate yellow flower only found in small sections of East Anglia, has found an unlikely haven in Priory Wood, near the airport's runway.

The National Trust is now gathering seeds from these airport blooms to reintroduce them into Hatfield Forest, where grazing deer have largely eradicated the species.

Oxlips in Priory Wood, Stansted AirportOxlips in Priory Wood, Stansted Airport (Image: London Stansted Airport)

James Rowland, Hatfield Forest property operations manager, said: "Oxlip (Primula Elatior) is a small, perennial, ancient woodland plant only found in small pockets of East Anglia.

"This nationally scarce species hasn’t been recorded in its purest form in Hatfield Forest since the 1980s due to the impact of deer and human activity.

"The discovery of pure Oxlips at a neighbouring, enclosed woodland which was once a part of Hatfield Forest, presents a rare opportunity to collect seeds, propagate, and re-introduce this significant species, in an attempt to encourage a self-sustaining Oxlip population.

"The new Oxlips will be placed in specially designed enclosures next spring, safe from the risk of browsing deer and trampling, with the hope that in the years to come, Oxlips will be a common sight at Hatfield Forest once again."

The airport has created various conservation areas in recent years, providing sanctuary to an array of flora and fauna, including a colony of great crested newts.

As the airport aims for 'zero net loss in biodiversity', it has also turned to traditional methods in its woodlands by using the power of the Suffolk Punch Horse to remove felled wood instead of modern machinery.


Martin Churley, head of environment and sustainability at Manchester Airport Group (MAG), said: "Our work to restore the natural habitats on the land that we own around (the) airport has created the perfect environment for Oxlips to thrive.

"Once on the brink of extinction, they are flourishing in Priory Wood, which has become a sanctuary for these beautiful flowers.

"It is wonderful to see this providing a much-needed boost to the Natural Trust's nature conservation efforts in Hatfield Forest."