Friday, 27 November 2015

BBOWT Guest Blog: My Secret Garden

You may have noticed that I have a bit of a 'thing' for a wonderful chalk grassland site called Yoesden. Bug Mad Girl and I visit regularly and write about the wonderful wildflowers, insects and birds that we find there. It has to be one of our favourite places, so I was delighted when BBOWT asked me to write a guest blog about what Yoesden means to us.

BBOWT raised the money to buy the site last year and are currently running an appeal to raise additional funds to extend the site. You can read more about the appeal here.

You can read my guest post on the BBOWT blog here, or a copy of it is below.

My Secret Garden

“And the secret garden bloomed and bloomed and every morning revealed new miracles.”
- Francis Hodgson Burnett

There’s a magical place that has felt like my secret garden since the first time I set foot in it. Beautiful, secluded and surrounded by stunning scenery, Yoesden is an absolute treasure. Loved by both myself and my daughter, it is home to the most amazing wildlife which we delight in discovering with every visit.
Part of its charm is that Yoesden is hidden away. There’s no shiny visitor’s centre or signs on the road. In fact, unless you knew where to look, you’d never know it was there. We always reach it by walking through a flower filled meadow, past a cowshed housing several swallows nests each summer. The path continues through the trees until the chalk grassland bank is revealed. It doesn’t matter how many times you visit, that first glimpse of the bank and the sweeping Chiltern hills is guaranteed to take your breath away. You’re suddenly miles from anywhere, shut off from the outside world, in the very best natural playground.
What strikes you first is the peace and tranquility, yet stay a while and you soon realise how noisy and busy it is. Wild flowers smother the bank all summer and on a sunny day they’re literally buzzing with a vast array of butterflies, moths, bees, beetles and flies. Green hairstreaks, small blues, chalkhill blues and dazzling adonis blues are just a few of the fabulous butterflies that make Yoesden their home.
Crickets and grasshoppers chirp and whirr all around and if your luck is in you might see an enormous great green bush-cricket (my daughter’s favourite because they’re “awesome”). Excited families of long-tailed tits flit through the bushes welcoming visitors, while a robin takes up a vantage point and serenades the spectacle. Green woodpeckers yaffle from the woods behind, red kites soar overhead and buzzards swoop along the length of the bank.
No secret garden would be complete without a floral display and Yoesden never disappoints. The delicate primroses and violets in spring are replaced by the elegant and showy orchids that carpet the bank in June. By late summer the Chiltern Gentian is the star of the show, followed by the purple haze of devil’s-bit scabious.

It may be our secret garden, but this is one secret we don’t mind sharing. Everyone should visit this enchanting nature reserve and fall under its delightful spell.


  1. I'd not heard of the place before now (sad as I am a Bucks resident, although north Bucks, and am not a BBOWT member), but it is now on a list of places I want to visit, especially as Green Hairstreak is on of the species I would love to see.

    1. It's definitely worth a visit. I'm sure you'd love it!