Friday, 29 May 2015

Pulpit Hill surprises

The best thing about being out and about in our local patch is that you just never know what you're going to stumble across next. Today was no exception!

We headed off to Pulpit Hill and Grangelands after the heavy rain, as that's the perfect time to see the huge Roman snails. There were plenty of slugs and snails about, which the kids loved spotting.

Roman snails

A handful of snail!

We found some huge slugs

Brown-lipped snails
We were walking through Grangelands when Bug Mad Girl spotted our first flowering Common Spotted Orchid of the year. Their spotty leaves have been around for a while now, but we hadn't seen any flower buds there yet, so it was a lovely surprise to see one flowering.

Common Spotted Orchid - first one we've seen
flowering this year
Then she spotted two more. They were only small and we only saw three in total, but we weren't really looking very hard for them. In another few weeks there should be hundreds, or even thousands of them on the site.

We also found some Twayblade starting to flower. It was much smaller than the Twayblade we saw on Sunday at the Ragpits and there wasn't much of it around, but the site is much more exposed, so you'd expect the plants to be a bit further behind.

The sun came out and we walked back through the woods.

The kids like to walk on the top of the banks above the path and Bug Mad Girl shouted down to me, "Which orchid has white flowers, because there's one up here." She'd only found some White Helleborines flowering up there!  Very exciting, especially after I'd been looking for them last week with Mum and failed to find them. We never would have seen them if they hadn't been walking up there and if Bug Mad Girl hadn't spotted that they looked like orchids.

White Helleborine

There were lots of them up there and plenty still in bud, so I'll go back next week and see if I can get some better (slightly more in focus!) photos.

So, what started out as a soggy snail hunt, turned into a couple of wonderful discoveries, finding two new orchids for the year. You just never know what's around the next corner!


  1. Are white helleborines rare and localized?

  2. I think they're listed as vulnerable, but they're definitely not as rare as some of the helleborines. Still quite exciting to find some though! They're found on chalk in shade under beech trees, so perfect for round here.