Tuesday, 30 July 2013

The White Horse of Uffington... and different butterflies!


Over the weekend we were in Oxfordshire to attend the very lovely wedding of our friend and neighbour. Before our long journey home, we went to visit The White Horse of Uffington. I've always wanted to see these hills, so it was a delight to walk them, all be it briefly. 


As you approach the White Horse, through the long grasses, you see Dragon Hill, where legend says St George slew the Dragon. The Dragon's blood apparently scarred the summit of the hill where there is a bare patch of chalk and nothing will grow.

Dragon Hill
Field Scabious
It's wonderful that the White Horse is completely accessible and not fenced off. It is carefully managed by The National Trust.
It's hard to make out which part of the horse you are looking at when you're next to it as it's so big. Interesting though to think how it was designed and marked out originally, especially as the best view you get is from the air!
Lady's Bedstraw
Tufted Vetch
Clustered Bellflower
This chalky environment is so different to the clay soils that I'm more familiar with back home. It was rather exciting to see so many different wildflowers that were quite unknown to me such as Clustered Bellflower, Lady's Bedstraw, Dwarf Thistle and Restharrow. There were also the familiar Harebells, Tufted Vetch and Birds-foot Trefoil.
And of course with different wildflowers come different butterflies! There were Marbled Whites galore and two varieties of Skipper. I have recently learnt how to identify Large Skippers from taking part in the Big Butterfly Count so it was wonderful to actually see one. Patchy patterning at the base of their wings is what to look out for! But the other type was smaller with plain wings. We get Small Skippers back home but this seemed slightly different so I wonder whether it was an Essex Skipper...?

Large Skipper feeding on Dwarf Thistle

Possibly an Essex Skipper or a Small Skipper...?
Chalk-hill blue feeding on Field Scabious
There is something quite magical about seeing a blue butterfly. I'm used to seeing Holy Blue's and occasionally Common Blue's but I think this was the first time I've seen Chalk-hill Blues. They were just beautiful, often in clusters basking in the sun on the chalky soil or feeding on the Field Scabious.
We all really enjoyed this little interlude in a busy weekend. It's always enlightening to explore a different part of the country.

1 comment:

  1. We went to the White Horse and nearby Waylands Smithy when I was a student and we were a lot closer to them. It's a truly magical area.


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