Saturday, 6 May 2017
The North Downs Way
Most of the day was taken up by a Gale family walk, along the North Downs Way, from Denbigh's Hillside to Shere, where a fine lunch was taken at the Dabbling Duck before we retraced our steps. Avian highlights were a singing Common Redstart on Ranmore Common (where I've heard them in song before) and a singing Firecrest on Netley Heath (this species is not as common on the North Downs as they are along the Greensand hills).
Plant wise it was wonderful, with the footpath edges full of flower, some of the highlights being a profusion of Sanicle; Bird's-nest Orchid (above, several hundred spikes on White Downs, much more advanced than last year and possibly in larger numbers); White Helleborine (a few in bud, none yet in flower) and a single Green Hound's-tongue on Ranmore Common (below), the furthest west that I've seen this species.
West of White Downs was virgin territory for me, and some of it looks tremendous, in particular the open slopes of Blatchford and Hackhurst Downs - I will be back.