White Hill Chalkhill Blues

The nature reserve of White Hill on the ridge above Shoreham in Kent is carved out of the high beech woodland. The reserve is managed by Butterfly Conservation as the small patches of herb-rich, chalk grassland support a strong colony of chalkhill blues as well as many other butterfly more common species. The scrub encroachesContinue reading “White Hill Chalkhill Blues”

North Downs Butterflies

On a calm, hot evening the chalkhill blues at White Hill reserve above Shoreham settle to roost on a steep slope of dying grasses in the last patches of warming sun; they latch on head down, one side facing the sun so the other will then catch the morning light, and simply stop. After monumentalContinue reading “North Downs Butterflies”

Queendown Warren’s Autumn Flower Show

The North Downs in Kent are sandwiched by the M20 and M2 motorways; the wilderness muted by the constant roar of traffic and ancient grasslands nearly neutered by post-War agriculture. The nature reserve of Queendown Warren is one of the best remnants to have escaped the plough; it lies on south facing slopes within earshotContinue reading “Queendown Warren’s Autumn Flower Show”

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 golfers.  The hedgerow birds hide from men hunting their lost handicapsContinue reading “West Kent’s Chalk Hills”