Sunday, 8 June 2014

Polden Hills, Somerset 9/6/14. Orchids, Butterflies and stunning Views

The aim was to walk the Polden Way from Walton Hill to Hurcot walking across Ivythorn Hill, Collard Hill and Hatch Hill etc. A beautiful sunny day saw us only get to Gilling Down and back simply because there is so much flora, fauna and beautiful views to stop and observe eventually a total of 8 glorious miles.
Grassy meadows and slopes are filled with wild flowers from the deep blue Meadow Cranesbill to Trefoil, Buttercups, Cow Parsley, Rock Rose, many Grasses etc simply breathtaking is the only way to describe the colours in some of the glades and meadows.
5 species of Orchid were seen, thousands of Common Spotted from white to pink and deep purple in colour. The beautiful Butterfly Orchid was seen in a few places along the walk as was the Pyramidal Orchid which is just starting to flower. Just one single Bee Orchid was found but what a perfect little plant.  Common Twayblade was also in good numbers.
No sign of the Large Blue butterfly but we did see Small Heath, Dingy Skipper, Speckled Wood, Common Blue, Meadow Brown, Large White, Green Vened White, Brown Argus, Small Tortoishell and Red Admiral. A few moths made an appearance a Cinnabar, Burnet and Silver Y.  A couple of dragonflies were seen hunting around their territory and a single 4 Spot Chaser on Walton Hill.
Not many birds around just a Kestrel, Buzzard, Swifts, Chiffchaff, Blackcap and Great Spotted Woodpecker.
The views on this walk are outstanding and yes we will be back to do it all again.

Meadow Cranesbill - a great flower for bees.

View across the Somerset Levels

Meadow Brown - lovely fresh colours and great to see them back in the meadows

Stinking Iris - lovely plant covering the hillsides near Collard Hill

Wild Somerset

Grassy Meadow - huge wild meadow to skip through! Packed with wild flowers and insects.

Just beautiful! The views along the walk are stunning

Common Spotted Orchids - thousands of them in this walk

Butterfly Orchid
First time we have seen this elegant orchid.  We found it in quite a few locations along the way.

Butterfly Orchid

 Common Spotted Orchids

Bee Orchid - only one found on the whole walk

Bee Orchid from the side

Pyramidal Orchid - a few of these now starting to flower

Common Twayblade - supposedly common but a first for us.

Common Twayblade

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