Woody wildflowers on display before the big blue

With a dry and potentially quite sunny week before us at long last it’s a great time for checking out emerging wildflowers on the walks. I must underline that I’m no expert and rely on apps to confirm by sightings in many cases. But below are a few species you’ll see in most of the woods encountered in woods and fringes on the KWNL routes in April.

Within a couple of weeks bluebells will be taking over in the woods – the first are already in bloom – but until then there’s plenty to enjoy: cuckoo flower, celandine, wood anemone, primrose and cowslip in particular. There are early orchids too; at Polhill, Strawberry Bank (on the Cudham walk), High Elms country park in the glades within the woods and Downe Bank (a detour on the Downe walk). I particularly enjoy the first sightings of butterflies: I’ve seen brimstone (usually the first to emerge), small tortoiseshell and peacocks so far this year. At Fackenden last week, all three species were fluttering in Magpie’s Bottom. In the woods behind adjacent to Magpie Bottom (the OS map calls it Great Wood), the celandine carpeting the ground under the beech trees was spectacular. Things change fast at this time of year though and pretty soon, all will be blue.

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