As the days lengthen it is noticeable the leaf buds of hedgerows around Wrenthorpe are also lengthening. Indeed some elderberry and hawthorn are starting to unfold their embryonic leaves. However, in places there are also fragmented outbursts of white flowers before any leaves have emerged, too early for blackthorn I wondered.
Therefore, after further research a return visit for a closer inspection revealed the sepals (just behind the petals) of the flower are blunt shaped and reflexed (curved backwards) suggesting it is cherry plum (see attached photos). The sepals of blackthorn are not bent backwards so hopefully case solved! Cherry plum is widely naturalised in the UK and attracts many insect pollinators including bees.
The hedges around our local field and garden boundaries are vital for our neighbourhood wildlife, especially for mammals, insects and nesting birds. Happily their importance is now more widely appreciated, and more wildlife hedges are again being planted.