To day we visited one of the top botanical sites in the county.
Corfe Common has been grazed for hundreds of years and its hilly contours mean that it has never been practical to plough it.
Consequently an enormous variety of plant species have flourished.
Many of them, such as the abundant Lesser Spearwort, are also characteristic of the New Forest which has enjoyed a similar history.
We found countless orchids here, mostly a beautiful array of the different colour forms of Heath Spotted Orchid, with a few Common Spotted and Southern Marsh. Looking close in the turf we could see many more flowers, all growing very low to escape the teeth of the horses. The yellow flowers of Tormentil were most abundant, along with pale blue Heath Speedwell and the darker blue Milkwort. Larger pink flowers of Lousewort were in patches here and there with the tiny white Heath Bedstraw everywhere.
A few insects were seen, notably the unusual black day-flying moth the Chimney Sweeper. One of us was even lucky enough to see an Adder curled up in the sun amongst the Bracken fronds!
Beautiful St John's Wort
Southern Marsh Orchid
Common Spotted Orchid
Heath Spotted Orchid
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