In search of Green Winged Orchids

We were very fortunate to have the services of John Newbould a Specialist Nature Conservation Volunteer and his associates to lead us on this particular walk on the Golden Cap Estate. Their knowledge about the various flora and fauna of the area was invaluable. As we met beside the Stonebarrow Shop for a short briefing on what to expect we were relieved to find that the promised rain was holding off.

The Green-winged Orchid is a short orchid of unimproved grasslands. It flowers in May or June; the flower spike carries a cluster of pinky-purple flowers (sometimes white) and the hood formed by the sepals is lined with green veins – which give this orchid its name. They are classified as Near Threatened on the Vascular Plant Red Data List for Great Britain but can be found in their hundreds (possibly thousands) at NT’s Westhay Farm.

We were not disappointed, despite in this year the first week of May was towards the end of their flowering period and they had been even more spectacular a couple of weeks earlier.

We were disappointed though, to realise that the meteorologists were not wrong with their forecast of rain – it started slowly then built up to becoming torrential. Some of our numbers made a hasty escape towards shelter whereas the rest of us battled on too interested in our quest to be put off by a little rain – actually, a lot of rain! We were amply rewarded and thoroughly enjoyed the experience despite getting a soaking.

Photos by R Dunford & C Senior