Colour pur­ple

Buckinghamshire Advertiser - - GREEN SPACES -

GREEN-WINGED or­chids, now un­com­mon due to the wide­spread drainage of wet mead­ows, flour­ish in their thou­sands in the Wildlife Trust’s Bern­wood Mead­ows na­ture re­serve.

On Sun­day May 10, Tim Read from the Bern­wood For­est project is lead­ing guided walks through an­cient Bern­wood For­est to Bern­wood Mead­ows to see this spec­tac­u­lar dis­play of or­chids with their stunning pur­ple flow­ers.

It’s worth mak­ing the trip to Bern­wood Mead­ows, near the vil­lage of Hor­ton-cumS­tud­ley on the eastern side of Ox­ford to see th­ese very spe­cial plants at their best in the first two weeks of May.

Green-winged or­chids thrive in damp and unim­proved grass­land, which means pas­ture that has had no fer­tiliser or pes­ti­cides.

Bern­wood od Mead­ows hasn’t been cul­ti­vated for a very long time, and the damp fur­rows across the fields pro­vide the ideal con­di­tions tions for th­ese spe­ciale­cial plants.

Although the stubby flower spikes are pur­ple, and in some cases shades of pink or even a white form, the hood at the back of the flower has par­al­lel veins in green or bronze.

Th­ese dis­tinc­tive veins and the lack of spots on the wide leaves, make the green-winged dis­tinc­tive from the taller early – pur­ple or­chids.

If you would like to know more about the plants and but­ter­flies of wild­flower mead­ows, then make a date this sum­mer to visit Meadow Farm, the Wildlife Trust’s re­cent ac­qui­si­tion in the Up­per Ray Living Land­scape area.

Like Bern­wood Mead­ows, the 28 hectares of fields at Meadow Farm are unim­proved, and just now show the vivid dif­fer­ence be­tween ridge and fur­row through the wide stripes of bright yel­low but­ter­cups grow­ing on the ridges, con­trast­ing with the ver­dant grass in the fur­rows. Later in June th­ese fields are a kalei­do­scope of colour­ful flow­ers and but­ter­flies.

Guided walks at Meadow Farm start on Satur­day May 16 and con­tinue at week­ends and some evenings through­out June.

Look up de­tails on whats-on. Groups are wel­come and can book walks with the Meadow Farm team on 01869 245864.

Wendy Tob­bit is the Berks, Bucks & Oxon Wildlife Trust

me­dia manager

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