Thursday, 26 June 2008

Midsummer Wildflowers at Avebury

Purple milk vetch - on West Kennet Long Barrow

Oxeye daisies and clover in the meadow going towards West Kennet Long Barrow

Poppies - looking towards Swallowhead Spring

Meadow Crane's-bill

This morning I set off earlier than usual for my mid-summer 'pilgrimage' to the Avebury downland. Arriving just before 9.00am, I headed towards the Winterbourne path via the National Trust car park - it was the first time I had ever seen it completely empty. Nature had reclaimed it overnight and it was now a warren with rabbits breakfasting in the morning sunlight.
My feet knew the way well and, as it was still quite early, I had the great privilege of experiencing peaceful solitude as I walked with just the gentle breeze moving through the grasses. A skylark here, a swallow there, crows lazing on the fence-posts. The Winterbourne was still flowing though very shallow which is extremely unusual at this time of year; this morning there were a couple of duck families who speedily swam away on spotting me. My destination was West Kennet Long Barrow though I made a small detour at Waden Hill and walked to the top through the waist high heathery coloured grasses. Butterflies rose up as I passed by and I spotted a Marbled White (quite rare, I believe). I stood for a while, taking in the land/sky-scape. Silbury was looking green and peaceful again after a traumatic year of difficult conservation work, a tractor busy harvesting the hay in the meadow.
It was such a pleasure to walk over to West Kennet Long Barrow in warm wind - a field of ripening barley on one side and a meadow of wild flowers and grasses on the other. At WKLB I again stood awhile in the warm sunshine, gently resting against the largest stone. A lone swallow swooped and dived, I could hear, though not see, a skylark nearby.
I will take the warm breeze, the clouds, the grasses and wild flowers with me until my next visit - which will be different again as the flowers disappear and the harvest ripens.
Wonderful! Just wonderful!