|Green Hairstreak butterfly|
Not all of my favourite spots are nature reserves, but most of them are designated in some way. That means somebody loves them enough to want to have them conserved. We have a brilliant system in the UK for saving our countryside and thousands of precious sites have been conserved, but it makes me sad to see the way we generally mine the countryside to make money. Why do we need so much oilseed rape and sugar beet? (I really want to know.)
If I had time, I would try to visit every nature reserve in the UK, but in reality I visit just a few a year; usually the same ones. Top of my local list is Hills and Holes at Barnack, just south of Stamford.
|Early purple orchid.|
There is no restriction on visiting and dogs run freely all over the site, which is not ideal, especially if you are sheep. However, the best areas for wild-flowers are roped off to protect them from big feet, especially those of photographers.
We have only managed one visit so far this year and that lasted just half an hour before we had a telephone call to say were were needed at home. All the same, we saw the end of the pasque flower season and caught the last of the cowslips. We also saw green hairstreak butterflies on the wild apple trees and some lovely early purple orchids.
Go there soon if you can.
|Pasque flower seed-heads.|