Friday, 12 August 2016

Violet helleborines

I took a walk around Brush Hill this morning to have a look at the violet helleborines that grow there. They're in full flower at the moment and seem to have done OK this year (although there seemed to be slightly less plants than last year). They grow in the deep shade of the beech trees, so are particularly difficult to photograph, but I did my best! They're a type of orchid and it's a real treat to have them growing just up the road from us.

We carried on through the woods and walked out onto the top of the chalk grassland slope. It's one of my favourite local views.

The grass looks dry and brown up there, but it's actually full of wonderful flowers, particularly scabious and knapweed.

It was a bit windy, but there were a few butterflies flying, including holly blues, brimstones and a handful of common blues.


Holly blue
We walked back through the woods and across the road to Whiteleaf Hill, pausing for a minute to enjoy the views again and look down on the top of the huge chalk cross that's carved into the hillside.

Walking back to the car park there must have been at least a dozen speckled woods in the dappled shade of the trees. I love the way they guard their little patch of territory, chasing off any intruders, always returning to rest within a few feet of their original perch. When you walk down the path you can see where you pass from one butterflies territory to the next.
Speckled wood
Back at the car park I spotted a small tortoiseshell, then had a walk around to see if there were any more violet helleborines. I found one, right next to where the cars park. It's funny how often you find the good stuff in the car park!
The car park violet helleborine 

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