UK news in brief: From heritage sites to the York groundsel

A round-up of some of the latest archaeology news from around the UK.

Heritage Open Days return this September

The National Trust-sponsored Heritage Open Days (HODs) return 8-17 September.

Heritage sites across the country – from historic houses and factories to formal gardens and graveyards – will host free events to bring local communities together to celebrate their heritage. Founded in 1994, HODs have been running for almost 30 years through the help of local organisers and volunteers. There is still time to organise an event at your local site. For further information and to register your event, visit More details about the events on offer will be provided in CA 403.

Plant heritage: York flower brought back from extinction

In what is being called Britain’s first-ever de-extinction event, a yellow flower known as the York groundsel – which only ever grew in York and has not been seen in the wild since 1991 – was successfully regrown.

First found in the car park of York’s railway station in 1979, the flower is believed to have been the first new species to evolve in Britain for 50 years. It did not last long, however, before it was eradicated by weed killers. Three small samples survived at the University of York, however, and, before they died, their seeds were recovered. For years they were stored at Kew’s Millennium Seed Bank until recently when it seemed that the seeds were nearing the end of their lifespan. The decision was then made by Natural England to try to resurrect the plant. Happily, after 100 seeds were planted at the Rare British Plants Nursery in Wales, 98 germinated. New seeds were subsequently planted around York and have recently started to flower.

Historic England launches Missing Pieces Project

In May, Historic England launched the Missing Pieces Project, which aims to celebrate the public’s interaction with the historic places on the National Heritage List for England. As part of the project, they are asking people to submit their own stories about locations that have special significance for them. With more than 400,000 protected places in England, it is hoped that this new project will uncover hidden histories and overlooked stories.

To add your story to the project, visit

Photo: © Heritage Open Days/Chris Lacey