All posts tagged: Chalk downland

Changing Hartnips Wood

In two weeks, the delicate, green and white, wood anemone carpet of early April has given way to a swathes of deep blue bluebells under a high shade of hornbeam. By mid-May the bluebells are fading; there is no further colourful succession, just the shade and silence of […]

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Fackenden Views

The cold air of mid April sweeps the down but the sun warms the sheltered pockets behind dense thickets of dogwood, hazel, hawthorn, blackthorn, bramble and whitebeam topped by fresh strands of clematis and honeysuckle. The whitebeam is coming into leaf and trees are lit with […]

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Autumn Blues

The view above the Darenth near Shoreham is fields of autumnal brown. The small nature reserve of White Hill, slivers of chalk grassland hidden within dense yew Taxus baccata and beech Fagus sylvatica woods and ever-encroaching dogwood Cornus sanguinea and whitebeam Sorbus aria scrub, is brightly lit by the evening […]

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Lullingstone Park

The long walk up from the old, red brick manor house at Lullingstone, now promoted to a castle, leads to neatly mown paths through chalk grasslands that cushion wide fairways and greens. The meadows are rich in yellow and white flowers: bedstraws, trefoils, fading oxeye daisies Leucanthemum vulgare, patches of yellow […]

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Ditchling Beacon

In the early morning light of a cloudless day, the mist holds the valley and almost overtakes the high chalk downs, dense and dew-soaked. Only at the beacon, does the sun break up the flow into puffy white plumes with landmarks edged, partially exposed and then covered up again […]


West Kent’s Chalk Hills

High Elms Country Park near Downe is a procession of pushchairs, straining dogs and track-suited walkers meandering and marching under tall pines and Wellingtonias (Sequoiadendron giganteum). At the top of the hill, protected by grandstands of tall ash (Fraxinus excelsior) and sycamore (Acer pseudoplatanus), are the Sunday […]


Up Fackenden Down

The change in the meadows at Fackenden Down over the last two weeks of June is marked; the fragrant orchids (Gymnadenia conopsea) are in their prime in mid June but tiring by the end of the month whereas the pyramidal orchids (Anacamptis pyramidalis) were emerging and now are at their […]

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