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Tuesday 28 April 2015

Green Hairstreak on Wolstonbury Hill, West Sussex.

What a joy to spot and photograph this cooperative Green Hairstreak butterfly this afternoon on this bush alongside the bridleway at Wolstonbury Hill, which, by the way, was the stagecoach route from London to Brighton via Hustpierpoint. 

Sunday 26 April 2015

A mysterious parasitic plant that lives underground and is only visible when it flowers now -- Toothwort.

 In the Long Plantation of Shabden Park in Surrey this footpath has been coppiced and Toothwort is in flower now adjacent to hazel trees.  I have also seen it in Derbyshire (the Dales), Shropshire (Wenlock Edge) and here in the Surrey Hills; all calcareous limestone or chalk habitats and, as yet, never in Sussex.  I keep looking in Sussex!

 It is late this year compared to last year and is becoming overgrown by Dogs mercury and other woodland plants.

Stitchwort and bluebells; another magical combination adjacent to St Barnabas church, Ranmore, Surrey yesterday.

Click here for an earlier blog entry on this fine church.

Colt's-foot; a fascinating plant at Samphire Hoe, Kent and in the Surrey Hills.

 Samphire Hoe is wasteland created from the channel tunnel spoil.  Such wasteland is ideal for Colt's-foot, Tussilago farfara.  It pushes up its flowers from stout scaly runners before any leaves appear.  These pictures were taken on 14th April 2015.

Just eleven days later in the Surrey Hills, the plant has set seed and the leaves have appeared.
It is so named because the leaf shape resembles a colt's foot in cross section.

It really cannot be confused with dandelion flowers which are larger and lack the scales of the Colt's-foot flower above foreground for comparison.

Some plants and animals from around Wolstonbury Hill, Sussex last week

 Tiny Town-hall clock flowers.

 Celandine and female Orange tip butterfly (?).
 Two Green woodpeckers at Danny House.

 Wolstonbury Hill
Danny House.

Thursday 23 April 2015

Early-purple orchids and bluebells today in a Sussex wood

 The Early-purple orchids were at their peak today.

 Early-purple orchids among bluebells is a magical sight.

Wednesday 22 April 2015

Denbies to Ranmore, three miles circular walk

After a good lunch in the restaurant at Denbies  on Sunday 12th April 2015, we headed westwards from the car park along Bradley Lane through the vineyards and up towards Ashcombe Wood.
The walk is three miles with 455 feet (139 meters) of ascent and descent on good quality tracks.  One section through the woods on the return is however, steep and uneven and boots are recommended.

 Keep straight ahead as the track becomes gravel and the concrete road bears away to the right.
 Remember to look back from time to time to admire the view back to Denbies, from whence you came.  In the morning we walked to Box Hill on the other side of the Mole valley.  Click here,  for details of that pre-lunch walk.
 Wood anemones above and Wood Spurge below were in flower on this beautiful Spring afternoon.

 At the crossroads in the wood turn left.
The view back.
The road passes through a wood and emerges with panoramic views of the vineyards and Box Hill
 This is the North Downs Way.
 Views of Dorking to the south.

Note the magnificent Redwood towering above the other trees.
At the T junction of paths follow the North Downs Way to the right.
 The track meets the road to Ranmore church and common to the left, which is the route of the North Downs Way.  Click here to see some of the butterflies and plants on Ranmore Common if you prefer a longer walk.

This walk turns to the right however, leaving the North Downs Way and heads North East past "Dairy Cottages" and "The Forts".

 A fine row of Ash trees line the road; in flower at this time of year.

 Look out for the "face" on one of them!
 The forts are long demolished and a private house occupies the site now.
 Keep straight ahead as you enter a wood, where the rounded pebbles suggest that this was once a seashore.

 The path descends to a T junction,
 where you turn right continuing downhill.

 Note the telecommunications transmitter mast disguised as a plastic tree.

Straight ahead is the track back to Denbies.
This is a lovely walk, which took us an hour and a half at a gentle pace with stops to admire the views, the plants and butterflies; Brimstones and Peacocks.

For pictures of native orchids in flower in May, please see
For butterflies in August in Surrey, please see

To see current wildlife posts and some biology lessons for my granddaughter in the absence of school or for children of any age, please click

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