More spring, more snow

A splash of purple scented violets under the viaduct, and the first few white specimens in the verge on Bittaford road this week. It was just light enough to take photos while walking home from the station. Dandelions were looking glorious in the sunshine; they are an important source of food for insects early in…

Winter again

A month ago at White Oxen there were drifts of primroses and snowdrops, a few white sweet violets, self-heal and dandelions. A nuthatch was noisily proclaiming its territory. Stinking hellebore (Helleborus foetidus) is native in parts of Britain (in a band from Kent to North Wales, according to Harrap’s Wild Flowers) and nationally scarce. This specimen,…

Snow and spring

  There was snow in Sheffield last weekend but back in Devon it feels like spring, with celandines, saxifrage, ivy-leaved speedwell and new growth of English stonecrop in the walls.   Frogs have been busy in the pools by Ludbrook and there are bright green new leaves of lesser spearwort under the flowing water of the brook.

Hillson’s House

Lovely splashy walk from Ivybridge to Stalldown Barrow this morning, but not much of a view through thick drizzle.

Ferns

Equipped with James Merryweather’s excellent Fern Guide, I’m trying to identify the ferns that grow prolifically all around here. Starting with the easy ones, there is hart’s tongue in every hedge, and hard fern. Hard fern is plentiful in the hedges but also makes a fringe to the banks of Ludbrook. Polypodies are also very common, even…

December flowers

Meadowsweet and wild angelica, the epitome of summer, are flowering along Wrangaton Road, with the meadowsweet just coming into bud. Still flowering after the summer are red campion, white deadnettle, hogweed and wood sage. Winter heliotrope, the first primroses, lesser periwinkle and new shoots of dog’s mercury are more seasonal. Holly on the moor by Ludbrook

Piles Copse

Piles Copse is a magical place to spend a sunny evening. On the way, there were some flowers hanging on in the hedgerows, caterpillars and butterflies, and lovely views from Ugborough Beacon. A pair of ravens patrols the beacon: In Piles Copse:   Sunset from Ugborough Beacon

Late September

It is too drizzly for good photos, but there are still some flowers. Swathes of autumn hawkbit in the short grass of Moorhaven’s playing field, and something in the verge that I had missed earlier: balm. In the stream at the moorland edge of Wrangaton golf course, there is lots of water mint and a few flowers of devil’s…

Signs of autumn

Autumn hawkbit (above) and camomile on the golf course. At the base of the hedgerows, there are tangles of redshank, knotgrass and water-pepper. There is lots of wild marjoram opposite the top of Green Lane, by the golf course sign, and enchanter’s nightshade at the bottom of Leigh Lane.       The last of the wild…

Haytor

A visit to the nature reserve in an old quarry at Haytor. There were white waterlilies and yellow fringed waterlilies. Fringed waterlilies are native to the Fens and Thames valley, but introduced and increasing in Devon. There were tiny frogs (above), sticklebacks, and a palmate newt. Note his black ‘gloves’ and thread-like tail tip.

Bumblebees and bogs

A surprising find on the moor yesterday, near the head of Ludbrook: ten or more bumblebees in a grassy, mossy nest. There were also lots of dragonflies and damselflies, in particular gold-ringed dragonflies patrolling up and down the brook too fast for photos. Meadow brown and large skipper butterflies were in the long grass beside the lower moorland…

Dartmoor evening

A beautiful evening on the moor. Tiny leaves of sundew are poking through the boggy moss and eyebrights and sheep’s sorrel are flowering.