Open University Exploring Nature Walk, Monday June 11th, Okeford Hill

After a series of preparatory visits to this beautiful site on the day of the actual walk it was, of course, raining. Not that we were put off, we just appreciated the effect the rain was having on the plantlife. I’ve never seen such luxuriant foliage. And of course the mosses and lichens were really enjoying the wet weather. On the down side we couldn’t quite see the seven counties that are supposed to be visible from here – but we certainly saw a good proportion of Dorset from 700 feet up. 

The first leg of the walk was along the ridgeway before turning off to walk around the south (and sheltered) side of Turnworth Wood. Almost immediately a roe deer ran out from the filed on our right and crossed the path right in front of us. The contrast between the bright orange-brown colour of the deer and the brilliant green of the crop was stunning. 

The next field appeared to be entirely sown with opium poppies. But we hadn’t stumbled upon an outpost of the Taliban these poppies are apparently used to make pain-killers. 

Our destination was the trigpoint overlooking the view south-east towards the Isle of Wight. You can search for it’s page at https://www.trigpointingUK.com, the site for trigpoint baggers. 

Walking back through the woods we came across a couple of plants that looked as if they might be new to us. One was a fern that might be a lady fern and the other possibly a lady’s mantle of some sort. See the links below for their pages on iSpot where I hope someone might be able to identify them with more certainty than I can.

Birds

Buzzard
Great Spotted Woodpecker
Wood Pigeon
Swift 
Swallow
Blackcap (heard)
Chiffchaff (heard)
Great Tit
Robin
Blackbird
Mistle Thrush
Chaffinch

Mammals

Roe Deer

Plants

Birds-foot Trefoil
Cow Parsley
Opium Poppy
Beech
Lady’s Mantle? (see https://www.ispot.org.uk/node/269542)
Lady Fern? (see https://www.ispot.org.uk/node/269535)

Bob Ford

 

For more walks like this, see https://www.dorsetwalks.com