Orchids on CRT properties

DSC_0001Many people are unaware that orchids occur in the wild in Britain. They are, however, relatively frequent in a wide range of habitats including our wildlife-friendly farms.

At Lark Rise, bee orchids have colonised the new meadow established in Holt Field. Their tiny seeds are carried far and wide on the wind, and if they find the right spot can produce spectacular shows a few years later. (Orchids are very slow-growing and usually flower when several years old.) On a smaller scale, the landrover tracks left in the meadow at Westfield after a year of regular visits for mink trapping, have allowed a pyramidal orchid to appear for the first time.

The wet meadow at Pierrepont has been lightly grazed and this has opened up the vegetation to allow marsh orchids to compete with the more rank herbage that would otherwise be there. (Several thousand are currently in flower). Meanwhile, at Turnastone, by dividing the grazing and leaving areas ungrazed at times, orchids and other plants have had a chance to grow. In the area of wood pasture which is kept stock-free during the spring, early purple, common spotted and broad-leaved helleborine orchids are now enjoying their chance to flower.

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