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”

Fackenden in July

Six hobbies hunt insects across the long slope of the down under grey clouds on a warm, humid evening. A sparrowhawk rushes to the woodland with hurried flaps and glides and the evening turns to a quiet dusk. A male yellowhammer sits on the top of the bushes and rattles.  A female dashes up fromContinue reading “Fackenden in July”

Pech Bely in late May

The land is dry, the barley fields are high and field margins and fallows full of colourful plants. The vines are putting on their light green leaf. A distant woodlark sings its fluting song in the cloudless dawn, later joined by a weeping tree pipit, wheezing black redstart and the dull rattle of a cirlContinue reading “Pech Bely in late May”

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 fat candles under the blue sky. Flowering plants are few in theContinue reading “Fackenden Views”