KWT Lydden Roadside Nature Reserve, Kent - 21/06/20
From Covert Wood (see last blog), I drove a few miles east towards Dover to visit this RNR managed by Kent Wildlife Trust. It was one I had never visited so I wanted to have a look around. Here are some of the plants I found there.
There were many pink Pyramidal Orchids on this RNR which is a steep hillside by the Lydden Rd off the A2. Amongst them was this white variant which occurs approximately just once in a thousand plants.
Anacamptis pyramidalis var. alba
I found several over the area, quite unusual. There were of course, hundreds of pink ones too. The yellow flower in the foreground is Kidney Vetch (Anthyllis vulneraria) a food plant for the Small Blue butterfly.
There were over a thousand Common Spotted Orchids too, a delight to see and this verge reminded me a bit of the A229 verge near Maidstone before it was "accidentally damaged".
I even managed to find an all white variant too.
Dactylorhiza fuchsii var albiflora
In amongst all of these wondrous orchids were plenty of Chalk Fragrant Orchids too.
Of course, wherever these two are found close together, you are likely to find the hybrid. I've featured this hybrid in a recent blog found at Folkestone, but each one is different, so here's some more! This one below showed typical hybrid vigour, missing from the Folkestone plants due to drought.
Aren't these delightful? Completely different forms to the Folkestone plants too. I found a similar looking hybrid at Magpie Bottom a few years ago.
Dactylorhiza fuchsii x Gymnadenia conopsea ss = X. Dactylodenia heinzeliana
The lovely named Squinancywort was the last plant I photographed here. It's a small flowered plant with unequal length leaves which seperates it from bedstraws. It's usually white but like here can sometimes be flushed pink.
I also visited Jumping Down, a chalk turf hillside near to Covert Wood. It was a long climb up from the road below but the view was nice, even though it was still drizzling a bit.
Dotted about the hillside were bright blotches of pink that demanded investigation. They turned out to be the amazing Musk Thistle, a not so common thistle in Kent.
The flowers are large and fall over to one side.
Here is the whole plant. Most were 2-3 feet tall, but they do make 4 feet in some areas.
An amazing clump of Common Spotted Orchids
And so ended a wonderful day out seeing the amazing wildflowers of Kent.