An unusually large group, including some welcome old friends and some new members and visitors, set off on the hay meadows walk along the riverbank. Our first stop saw us “keying out” Dandelion look-a-likes with the help of notes through which Christine guided us. On the walk we identified 3 species, Rough Hawkbit Leontodon hispidus, Common Cat’sear Hypochaeris radicata, and Mouse-ear Hawkweed Pilosella officinarum.
These flowers in profusion together with Buttercups Ranunculus acris, made the meadows seem a sea of yellow but on closer inspection smaller flowers of different colours could be seen.

Zigzag Clover

A Common Blue Butterfly

Common Blue

was spotted and the lovely Hoary Plantain Plantago media.

Hoary Plantain

A plant more commonly seen on waste ground was Red Bartsia Odontites verna

Red Bartsia

and the Grasses in flower were impressive, particularly Crested Dog’s Tail Cynosorus cristatus

Crested Dogstail

The Common Spotted Orchids Dactylorhiza fuchsii

were abundant in various colours – ranging from white, pink and purple. Also striking were the Wood Cranesbill Geranium sylvaticum,

Wood Cranesbill

with their pretty white centres and Melancholy Thistle Cirsium heterophyllum .
The star species though was the Greater Butterfly Orchid

Greater Butterfly Orchid

Plantanthera chlorantha of which we saw several examples in 2 different spots, rather more than I remembered from previous visits. Growing amongst them were Fragrant Orchids Gymnadenia conopsea

Fragrant Orchid

The weather was kind to us though it brought out the midges at our lunch spot. This did not,however, spoil our enjoyment of a very special place.

Win Clements

Photos Ian Hughes