Prunella

Prunella vulgaris goes by many common names – heal-all, woundwort, heart-of-the-earth, carpenter’s herb, brownwort or blue curls – but in these parts it’s best known as selfheal.

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Orchids

Why has this been such a good year for orchids?

This year, we have identified five species of native orchids in the reserve. Two of them, the common spotted orchid and the broad leaved helleborine, are old friends, but bee orchids, pyramidal orchids and southern marsh orchids also appeared for the first time in the reserve’s fields.
What makes a good year for native orchids? Here are five possible factors to take into consideration.

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Scarlet pimpernel

This is Anagallis arvensis or scarlet pimpernel discovered last week among the grass in the set-aside at the top of Kestrel Field and photographed by Ian Bushell. It is a tiny annual plant more usually found growing in bare ground under arable crops than among the reserve’s lush grasses and, like so many of our wildflowers species, it is now in serious decline due to modern intensive agricultural practices.

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Orchids!

Yesterday, while surveying pollinator networks in the reserve, Ian Bushell discovered a colony of bright pink pyramidal orchids (Anacamptis pyramidalis), an important new species for the reserve.

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Every year there is quiet competition among Friends and Followers to see who can send in the first picture of the reserve’s common spotted orchids. This year the winner is Gill Newbury: well done, Gill!


More wildlife watching

by Simon Knight

The park is really coming to life now, with the grasses growing, trees in leaf and the fields dotted with yellow as buttercups start to bloom. My visits haven’t been as frequent as I would have liked, which makes me value the time I have spent in the park even more. 

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Primrose surprise

In 2019, SSE cleared the trees and understorey from beneath their power lines where they crossed the park. It made a bit of a mess, particularly in the area of the blackthorn tunnel, but there have been advantages, too.

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