Day Out Speedwell and Buttercups

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Jan 6, 2017
Here There & Everywhere
Below me was the Len valley and on the purple horizon is the Greensand Ridge.

I was up high on the North Downs and sitting amidst a copse of aspen trees making myself a mug of earl grey. The grass was long and soft, a chill north-westerly blowing straight up the pent and quivering the aspen leaves. The ground was dotted with clumps of blue speedwell, blushing the hoath. Out across the slopes there were patches of yellow and other blues and purples.

Then I had an idea.

I thought I would use my day ranging across the downs to see how many different wild flowers I could find and identify.

Firstly, I must say, I am no expert. I can identify a few wild plants. And I’ve picked up knowledge of a few more. And I have a wild plant/flower app on my phone to help me fill the gaps.

Gainfully I strode down a cleft that falls between two pinches, along a cattle track. The day previous it had rained and hailed, but that had been sharp and brief and it had all dried now. If not exactly dusty.

I passed several dead rabbits, eviscerated and still fresh. Not together, mind you. They had obviously been buzzard kills, and there was a pair circling and pewing high in the sky. As I approached one of the corpses I saw a large rat having a nibble and then scarpered off into the undergrowth. Almost immediately a crow swooped down and took up the feast, completely nonplussed when I passed by just a few feet away. Whilst up above me, standing on a fence post, was a male kestrel.

I found a place sheltered by a chalk scarp, getting me out of the wind and somewhere I could plonk myself down and eat my lunch – another mug of earl grey and a sausage roll, sitting on a bed of ground ivy with the strong aroma scenting my break.

A flight of barn swallows came by, following their own paths and whirls just metres above the ground. They came to rest on a stretch of wire around the field, bounded over to a post, had another flurry trying to catch the wind-blown insects, then down on the wire again, pirouetting, circling, hunting, and then back off uphill.

What could also be found uphill from me was the site of a bronze age settlement. The only thing remaining were the ghosts - of the people who had lived there and who had also prowled the hills looking for plants for food and medicine, a process that was obviously still going on.

So, my tally of wild flowers.

Amongst the hoath and hedgerows I saw the following:

Lady’s Bedstraw
Ground Ivy
Red Campion
Garlic Mustard
Hedge Mustard
Yellow Archangel
Red Dead Nettles
White Dead Nettles
Bird’s Foot Trefoil
Wild Strawberries (took good note of where they were – if the birds don’t beat me to them)
Common Vetch

Plus some others I couldn’t identify.



Jan 21, 2005
S. Lanarkshire
What a lovely post :D Beautiful photographs. Really, a pleasure to read; we could almost be there.
Sounds like a cracking day out :cool:

Good selection of plants found too though; were there many insects about yet ? We've got loads of butterflies and the biggest selection of beetles I can mind seeing, and loads of amphibians too.



Full Member
Nov 21, 2015
Thank you! :)

Found some bugle yesterday - after scrambling down a steep bank to look at a rare purple orchid I could see at the bottom! ;)