On the eve of May-Day, the fields and woods of the reserve are well advanced in their growing stages. The heatwave of recent days has brought growth forward by as much as three weeks according to some estimates.
I took a walk from the main entrance via the Chalkpit and part of McIntyres Meadow, doubling back to view the Dewpond and then down to see the Early-Purple Orchids in the lower Ash wood area, making my exit via the lower meadow back through the car park.
The sight of Hawthorn trees in blossom heralded the start of May most aptly. The ground flora most apparent is large swathes of blue flowered Germander Speedwell, occasionally contrasting with clumps of yellow Meadow Buttercups.
Among other patches of grasses and were flowering clumps of Common Crosswort.
On reaching the dewpond it was good to see the first Broad-bodied Chaser Dragonflies, darting about over the shallow water.
Onward through the woods and to the area of Early-Purple Orchids (Orchis mascula). They were almost passing their peak of flowering and showing the first signs of the flowers wilting. These woodland orchids have done well and continue to widen their spread by a small amount each year. In spite of occasional trampling and attack from what I assume to be slug or snails that nibble off the emerging flower heads.