Sunday, June 25, 2017

Orchids on the Durham coast

Durham's magnesian limestone grassland is famous for its orchids. Yesterday, when we were walking along the coast near Hawthorn Dene there was a sensational display, in the hay meadow at the mouth of the dene itself and even more so in the thin soils around the old quarry. 

There were many hundreds of spotted orchids and scores of pyramidal and fragrant orchids. There were also plenty of twayblades, but it's hard to estimate their numbers because their green colour makes them easy to overlook. 

I think this was the best orchid display that I can remember here.

Fragrant orchid

Pyramidal orchid

An albino common spotted orchid

Common spotted orchid

Twayblade orchid

This is the area around the quarry with the highest density of orchids, growing in a thin veneer of soil over limestone. Other species in flower here included centaury and yellow-wort, greater knapweed and carpets of bird's-foot trefoil.

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