Sunny intervals, turning cooler later.
We started out looking at the white (and one pink form) Yarrow flowers in the field by the road and then looked at the Common Knotgrass (tiny pale flowers), Common Mallow (big purple flowers) and the Wall Barley growing by the side of the path.
Then down the steps pausing to look out over ‘Blue Mountain’ which was looking very blue on the field part where previously grazed Viper’s Bugloss was now flowering in some profusion. We got to look at it close up as we walked past it on the steep narrow path, noting also a few harebells. The term ‘Blue Mountain’ was given apparently due to the sheer amounts of Harebells on there in the 60’s. It’s certainly a possibility as the habitat could have been more suited to them then, though now there is more Viper’s Bugloss.
Along the top we saw Common Knapweed and Rough Hawkbit flowering in profusion, stopped to admire and smell Lucerne, and looked at some of the plants usually found growing in sand dunes by the beach growing here in sand dunes on the top of a cliff; “The wind can be quite strong here”.
Then at the edge of the cliff to peer down at massed white flowers of Shasta Daisies with the odd bright orange Montbretia and also, on careful inspection, the silvery-grey leaves of Snow-in-Summer. All these are garden plants and it was odd that they should be growing here just at this section of cliff….well odd until you looked at a map from 1953 which showed holiday chalets. Two people on the walk remembered the little wooden huts from the sixties. The plants that people put in their gardens around the chalets are still there, but other traces of that time are now gone.
And so down to the beach with a short wander along to look at Sea Sandwort, Sea Rocket and Frosted Orache growing at their ‘Goldilocks’ spot on the beach, before it was time to clamber a short way up the cliff face to see Marsh Fragrant-orchid (it was…we all sniffed it), some Quaking-grass, Carline Thistle and a couple of plants of the locally rare Small Scabious which was flowering profusely.
I also pointed out the glaucous-leaved seaside subspecies of Red Fescue…everyone still smiled and nodded politely but I fear I had gone slightly too far over into the nerdy side of wild flowers. Still, never mind. A short wander along the cliffside and we found a colony of Common Twayblade with a couple of plants still showing their strange green flowers and then on at a 45 degree angle to see Water Mint and Square-stalked St John’s-wort growing in a rabbit-grazed wet flush.
Further up the beach there was a plant so esoterically nerdy that it technically wasn’t even a plant, so I’ll just say it was one of those ‘moments’ where you had to be there really. Then back along the beach looking at the coloured pebbles, the Razor Clam shells, and some Sandpipers running madly back and forth in a game of ‘chase’ with the sea.