I went for a guided walk on Pewsey Downs this morning, with Plantlife, a first for me as I'm usually very happy to tramp about on my own, especially if I'm taking photos or sketching.
Pewsey Downs is an SSSI and an Important Plant Area, due to its rare and endangered wild plants, its plant biodiversity . . .
and for its flower rich meadows.
A profusion of beautiful and delicate lesser butterfly-orchids.
An abundance of common-spotted orchids are strewn across the downs, and I spent rather a lot of energy in trying not to tread on any of them. The flowers themselves can vary from deep to light pink, and the leaves are marked transversely with dark spots.
The common fragrant orchid.
Burnt-tip orchid is a white orchid with a deep crimson peak - the 'burnt tip' in question. Once more common than it is now, it can be found in the short downland turf at Pewsey Downs (if you look very carefully), and has been chosen as the County Flower of Wiltshire.
Although medium-sized, I think it's easy to overlook twayblade due to it's gentle green colouring. Without a macro lens it's difficult to get a really good close-up, so I made an attempt at photographing it through a hand lens held over my phone camera.
And great excitement for me, my first sighting of a bee-orchid
Even with the thrill of seeing so many fantastic and astonishing orchids I got a real buzz from seeing just so many different wild flowers, many that we think of as terribly common and almost unworthy of comment.
Nevertheless, I still think plantains are amazing little plants, and look really quite extraordinary and are just as wonderful to see.