The great outdoors is on your doorstep
WHETHER or not you are heading further afield during the summer, the Berks, Bucks and Oxon Wildlife Trust has many nature reserves to explore right here in Buckinghamshire.
Why not make the most of longer days whatever the weather to get out and visit some new parts of our county.
High in the Chilterns, the chalk grassland at Chinnor Hill nature reserve offers far-reaching views over the Vale of Aylesbury. Stop for a moment to enjoy watching soaring buzzards and red kites, riding the thermals on a sunny day.
The grassland is filled with wild flowers including lady’s bedstraw, eyebright and salad burnet. Autumn gentians should be starting to flower, too.
Two of the Wildlife Trust’s newest nature reserves in Buckinghamshire are particularly worth a visit during the summer. Last year, BBOWT took on the long-term management of Bacombe Hill, near Wendover, and Grangelands and The Rifle Range, near Princes Risborough, for Buckinghamshire County Council.
Bacombe Hill is an ancient chalk grassland site. Sir Charles Rothschild, who went on to found The Wildlife Trusts, identified it as a site to be protected more than 100 years ago and it became one of the original Rothschildhild Reserves.
These days the reserve ve is still noted for its wildld flowers and butterflies, es, not to mention the he superb views overer Wendover and d Aylesbury Vale. Carpetss of wild thyme fill thee summer air with a wonderful aromatic c fragrance and the gentians flower in late summer.
The Ridgeway National Trail passes through Grangelands. Pause on a walk and sit awhile on the slopes to enjoy the wonderful views. Watch as common blue, marbled white and chalkhill blue butterfliesfli flit from flower to flower. The chalkhill blue is limited to areas of chalk grassland as it lays its eggs only on horseshoe vetch, which only grows there.
Common rock-rose is a low-growing, creeping plant with bright yellow clusters of flowers, which provide plenty of nectar for various bees and is also the food plant of several species of butterfly such as the brown argus and green hairstreak. Look out for other colourful wild flowers, including gentians and harebells.
BBOWT also took on the management of Pavis Woods last year, adjoining Dancersend nature reserve. The Ridgeway National Trail runs through these woods too. Take a detour off the trail down into Dancersend to explore the chalk grassland and woodland.
Pack up a picnic and explore a new reserve this summer, or return to an old favourite and see its summer glories.
PICTURE: COLIN WILLIAMS Delicate wildlife: Chalkhill blue butterfly
A seat with a view: Enjoy the farreaching views from Chinnor Hill PICTURE: SUE CROXFORD