Friday, 15 July 2016

Beauty in miniature

I've just come back from a lovely walk with a friend on Canada Common near Wellow, on the edge of the New Forest.

This time, the vast plain (closely-cropped by the many ponies and donkeys) was a carpet of colour, although you had to look closely to see it. Some might say that it's overgrazed, and it would certainly appear to be when compared to some of the other commons in the Forest, but all the species are there, just in miniature!

Three species of heather were in flower - common, bell and cross-leaved heath, together with patches of bright yellow spearwort in wetter areas, the precise four-petalled forms of tormentil, and the blue of heath milkwort.

This contrasted greatly with last Sunday's attempt to work off the baked cheesecake! With the sun shining, we headed off to Old Sarum, with the butterflies flitting around in the warmth. It seems to be a good year for marbled whites - I don't usually see them around the hillfort, but they were making the most of the sheltered spots and copious nectar sources (ragwort and hawkbits in the main).

The weather over the weekend is supposed to be vaguely summer-like, so might be a good opportunity to head off to some sunny woodland rides for a bit of butterfly spotting. Don't forget the Big Butterfly Count starts this weekend, running until the 7th of August - more info on the Butterfly Conservation website.

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