Posted by: lensweb | June 7, 2012

Orchid Wood Walk – 4th June

As part of the LENS summer events programme, members and guests met at St. Chad’s Water car park on Wilne Lane for an approximate 3 mile walk along good footpaths (grid ref   SK 448 318). The walk leader was Joan Breakwell.

We started from St. Chad’s Water car park, our main object the orchids of orchid wood. We were not optimistic as only three or four plants had been visible four days earlier! However there were plenty of flowers to see on the way. After a damp day the clouds cleared to reveal a very pleasant evening.

We walked across a field of corn, then along the lane. Hop plants climbed in the hedges alongside elderberry. We saw hemlock with its red stems growing by the River Derwent. The elm hedge clearly showed its furrowed branches. Green alkanet, whose roots are used for red dye, grew on the verge. Then, as we turned onto the bridleway there was a lovely patch of yellow meadow vetchling.

Some of us were so busy with the flowers that we missed the lapwings and the skylark, which sang from a fence post. Yellowhammers can usually be spotted here and a few of us caught sight of a female atop a gorse bush. The hedges were alive with birdsong.

We saw Oxford ragwort, much more attractive than ordinary ragwort we thought, and spent some time trying to tell the difference between cow parsley and rough chervil. We wondered if they could hybridise.

Then we reached Orchid Wood, where we were met by Alan and John. Now the orchid hunt was really on. The southern marsh orchids growing there were moved to Draycott from a threatened site and have continued to grow there ever since. The site, which is a mixture of meadow and wooded areas, is owned by Erewash Borough Council.

With 14 pairs of eyes to search there were frequent cries of  ‘there’s one here’. We found rather more Southern Marsh-orchid than Common Spotted-orchid and most were quite weak plants. However we guessed that in a week to ten days there would be no need to search as the spikes would grow above the surrounding foliage.

As we made our way back to our cars, there was one more treat in store. We had timed our return perfectly to witness a striking sunset. The sun went down in a red sky reflected perfectly in the smooth still water of the lake.

Sunset over St. Chad’s Water

Joan Breakwell

Related Links

St. Chad’s Church

About Draycott


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