Nacton Meadows

Nacton Meadows is entirely hidden in a small valley that is accessed by a footpath between Levington and Nacton just north of the Orwell estuary. The first meadow is on a west facing slope with a herd of boisterous heffers so not a place to potter. The second is across a stream on a southContinue reading “Nacton Meadows”

Badley Moor in late May

The byway from Dumpling Green on the outskirts of Dereham leads due east between large. mundane rape fields that are just erupting a sulphur yellow and ancient oak woodland filled with dense hazel coppice. The rape is devoid of life bar a few stubborn poppies but the woodland holds a noisy shower of small birds;Continue reading “Badley Moor in late May”

Postcard from Tollesbury

Tollesbury sits near the mouth of the Blackwater estuary and is famed for producing great sailors during the golden age of the America’s Cup, reputedly because the testing onshore winds and biting cold made for the right stuff. The dilapidated, wooden granary at the edge of Woodrolfe Creek is a tangible reminder of a timeContinue reading “Postcard from Tollesbury”

Farningham Wood revisited

Farningham Wood is renowned, botanically speaking, for its colony of Deptford pinks Dianthus armeria that hide amongst the wood sage Teucrium scorodonia on one short edge of the great woodland. But this is no wilderness; the M25 is just to the west, the M20 and the old village of Farningham to the south, and plasticContinue reading “Farningham Wood revisited”

Adders on the meadow

There are just a handful of traditional lowland hay meadows left in Southern England. On a land use map of Kent, Marden Meadow looks like a short line of postage stamps stuck on a large, white envelope; a remnant from a time when the only implements to work the land were scythes, carts and barrowsContinue reading “Adders on the meadow”

Adders on the down

A black and white male adder sunbathes on the upper slope of an old pile of fence posts and the chocolate brown female does the same on the lower slope. On another day, a darker male is on the fence pile tightly coiled as the cloud is over; he tastes the air then slides silentlyContinue reading “Adders on the down”

Spring butterflies

The early butterflies are nearly all widespread species including orange tips, brimstones and ‘cabbage whites’, the exception in southern England is the Duke of Burgundy fritillary and the nearest colony is near Canterbury. Peacocks and small tortoiseshells are also out and both common this year. The hedge garlic and lady’s smock are the host plantContinue reading “Spring butterflies”

Red kite mobbed by a carrion crow

Red kites are renowned nest predators especially of rooks and crows. In mid April, most carrion crows pairs have a nest on the go, probably with with four blue speckled eggs in a stick nest lined with wool, and if a kite approaches then the male will climb vertically out of the woods to harryContinue reading “Red kite mobbed by a carrion crow”