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Friday, 1 June 2012

Wed 30th May 2012 - Golden Hill Fort, Freshwater.

With Yarmouth cloaked in thick mist on Wednesday morning, it was a pleasant surprise to find the area around Golden Hill Fort all clear. Team GG met up in the car park and were "delighted" (cough!) to see that both the Ranger and Mark had turned up with numerous wheelbarrows in the trailers. Golden Hill and wheelbarrows can mean only one thing - limestone chippings for pathways. Sure enough, we were soon directed to FOUR pre-delivered mountains - totalling some 10 tonnes of chippings in total. We soon divided into three main working parties and set about clearing the chosen pathways of overgrown vegetation before tipping the materials in place, hopefully this will ensure that the numerous walkers that use this area will have less muddy areas to transit during the rainy seasons. With the first three piles all sorted, everyone "attacked" the final one which was cleared in double quick time. Other GG Team members were involved in cutting back overhanging vegetation and litter picking.

Carrie's Nature Lesson.

This week we "spotted" a Common Spotted Orchid (Dactylorhiza fuchsii), which is the most widespread and common British orchid. It grows in many different habitats including woodland, roadside verges, hedgerows, old quarries, sand dunes and marshes; sometimes so many flowers appear together they carpet an area with their delicate, pale pink spikes. It gets its name from its leaves which are green with abundant purplish oval spots, and form a rosette at ground level before the flower spike appears, while narrower leaves sheath the stem.

The flowers range from white and pale pink through to purple, but have distinctive darker pink spots and stripes on their three-lobed lips. The flowers are densely packed in short, cone-shaped clusters and bloom between June and August; so this one is obviously in flower quite early.

Many thanks to Carrie for the photographs and Nature Lesson.

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