Hit and miss hairstreaks

The footpath into Hadleigh Country Park at the end of St Mary’s Road descends steeply into scrubby woodland. The path meets a wide grass ride that runs east through an avenue of elms. On a hot day in the late afternoon, the white-letter hairstreaks descend to nectar on the abundant bramble that remains in theContinue reading “Hit and miss hairstreaks”

The barley field

The back garden runs round a small section of a large field of barley. The crop this year looks in perfect condition after the wet spring and hot dry summer. The cow parsley has come and gone and now hemlock, poppies and common mallow with tussocks of false oat-grass provide a backdrop to the vegetableContinue reading “The barley field”

Old friends…

On a warm day with strong sunshine and few periods of persistent cloud, we took the sunken footpath up from Shoreham station. The ancient byway was flanked by veteran beech trees with smooth, silver grey trunks above exposed roots that twisted out of the ground. On White Hill, the fragrant, man, pryamidal and common spottedContinue reading “Old friends…”

Conserving Crookhorn Wood

To the west of the Medway gap in Kent, an untidy patchwork of woodlands between Cuxton and Trottiscliffe covers the steep, downland slopes and plateaus; much is designated as one large Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and select parts as one half of the North Downs Woodlands Special Area of Conservation (SAC). The latterContinue reading “Conserving Crookhorn Wood”

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”