Saturday, 8 July 2017

Ancient ramblings

So I've been making sure I'm able to get out and enjoy this lovely weather we've been having, and trekking slightly further afield to share some of the beautiful sites we have with others.

Last Sunday was just that - a trip to Cerne Abbas in Dorset, not just to view the Giant on the hillside (see previous posts) but to admire the ancient tranquil village buildings and the beautiful chalk grassland upon which the Giant sits.

We started with a wander around what remains of the ancient Abbey - not much is the answer! Then, heading on up the back of Giant Hill, we encountered a myriad of wildflowers and insects, including 6 spot burnet moths feeding on small scabious. I love June/July on a downland - the 'purple season' of knapweed, thistles and scabious acting as watering holes for a mass of butterflies and other insects.

The lovely riverside walk back into town followed a beautifully-clear little chalk stream, with abundant water crowfoot, and buzzing with damselflies.

Then yesterday we headed up along part of the Clarendon Way (which runs between Salisbury and Winchester Cathedrals), walking through Clarendon Park, up the hill to the ancient ruins of the mediaeval royal hunting lodge grazed by llamas (see previous posts!), and along the path to the village of Pitton. The ruins are actually very valuable for a variety of wildflowers, including dark mullein, self heal and hawkbits - slowly returning to chalk grassland under the llamas grazing! The footpath also had some beautiful chalk grassland margins with orchids, scabious, knapweed and ladies bedstraw - such a kaleidoscope of colour.

So get out there and enjoy the colours now before the sun scorches them all away in this drought!

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