The Orchid Forum, for the UK and Europe (previously known as The UK Orchid Forum) • View topic - Orchids in the South Downs
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 05, 2016 8:13 pm 
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I spent this lovely sunny day in the South Downs in two nature reserves known for their wild orchids, both near-ish to Petersfield.

First was Chappetts Copse, which has the largest populations of sword-leaved helleborine (Cephalanthera longifolia) in the country. The abundance was just staggering, and I'd never seen this plant wild at all before either!

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I also saw the first fly orchids of my life there :) (Ophrys insectifera)

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Seeking: Aristolochia cathcartii, Encephalartos inopinus, Passiflora incarnata, P. tucumanensis (seeds) Lobelia gloria-montis, L. villosa



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PostPosted: Sun Jun 05, 2016 8:50 pm 
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The second site was Noar Hill, where the twayblades were in abundance with common spotted orchids. There are also frog orchids, bee orchids and other here, but I didn't spot any. The musk orchid was here, but my eyes weren't good enough to find it, though people we met there said it was out.

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Twayblades (Listera ovata) everywhere!

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Common spotted orchid (Dactylorhiza fuschii):

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Probably still Dactylorhiza fuschii..... though looks a bit like D. maculata too:

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And there was this Orchis mascula (Early purple orchid) just going over now :)

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And it also occurred as one big variant. Very odd as it was around twice the size of the others and a different colour, also at its peak rather than going over. I wonder if it is a hybrid with fragrant orchid?

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Seeking: Aristolochia cathcartii, Encephalartos inopinus, Passiflora incarnata, P. tucumanensis (seeds) Lobelia gloria-montis, L. villosa



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PostPosted: Sun Jun 05, 2016 9:26 pm 
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What a great day you must have had. You're photographs have just made MY day. Thanks.

Ed


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PostPosted: Sun Jun 05, 2016 9:56 pm 
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Great photos.

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PostPosted: Sun Jun 05, 2016 11:02 pm 
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Lovely photos Rob. Ive only ever seen a musk orchid once, and I would never have noticed it except that I almost sat on it when I stopped for a lunch snack on a walk on the North Downs. Tiny plant in very short chalk turf. Not the most exciting orchid! You didnt miss much :D


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 07, 2016 7:17 pm 
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The best ID for that last pink thing is Orchis mascula (early purple orchid). That matches the darker, smaller plant OK, but the large pink one is very robust and rather late too.

Both sites are free access. If you look up Noar Hill and Chappetts Copse on Wikipedia you get grid references for them both. Neither are amazingly easy to find though.

Chappetts Copse is on the east of the road between West Meon and Coombe. The dirt road to it has an information board which you can see from the road - drive slowly or you'll miss it. You drive up the dirt road a few yards, park on the left (ahead is private land), and then wander into the woods on your left. The best orchid areas are the lower woods, alongside the road.

Noar Hill is off the south of the road between Selbourne and East Tisted. It's signposted (badly) by the junction you need, near Selbourne. Once on the road towards Charity Farm, pull in just before Charity Farm and walk up the tractor path toward the farm, a bridleway/footpath breaks off to the left, rather overgrown, and leads you to Noar Hill.

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Seeking: Aristolochia cathcartii, Encephalartos inopinus, Passiflora incarnata, P. tucumanensis (seeds) Lobelia gloria-montis, L. villosa


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 07, 2016 7:21 pm 
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WilECoyote wrote:
Lovely photos Rob. Ive only ever seen a musk orchid once, and I would never have noticed it except that I almost sat on it when I stopped for a lunch snack on a walk on the North Downs. Tiny plant in very short chalk turf. Not the most exciting orchid! You didnt miss much :D



Yeah, well, I would like to tick it off as one I've actually seen (and smelled!) someday. :)

My next priority is to see bee orchids in the UK. I've seen them once only, many years ago, the same year as I saw man orchids wild in the UK in fact. Where have they all gone?

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Seeking: Aristolochia cathcartii, Encephalartos inopinus, Passiflora incarnata, P. tucumanensis (seeds) Lobelia gloria-montis, L. villosa


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