Orchids thriving in the South Downs

A profusion of orchids at Valewood in the South Downs

Tens of thousands of orchids flower each year in a single valley at Valewood in the South Downs. We took a 360 degree camera to capture this remarkable phenomenon at its height.

Valewood in the South Downs is a magical place, where tens of thousands of orchids flower in a single field, the air heavy with the scent of an early summer hay meadow.

Head Ranger, David Elliott, said: 'They are a mix of Common Spotted and Heath Spotted-orchids. There are plenty of places in the South East that you could go to see them. But not many places where you could see such a profusion of them. It’s always pretty amazing there at this time of year, but this year it is breathtaking.

Valewood in the South Downs is a magical place, where tens of thousands of orchids flower in a single field, the air heavy with the scent of an early summer hay meadow.

Head Ranger, David Elliott, said: 'They are a mix of Common Spotted and Heath Spotted-orchids. There are plenty of places in the South East that you could go to see them. But not many places where you could see such a profusion of them. It’s always pretty amazing there at this time of year, but this year it is breathtaking.

A 360 degree photo of tens of thousands orchids flowering at Valewood in the South Downs
A 360 image of the orchids growing at Valewood

The meadow at Valewood has been home to the orchids for over a decade and the land is carefully managed by our countryside team at Black Down to preserve the habitat.

A programme of late season grazing means that the cattle do not enter the field until the orchids have finished flowering. Then in late summer, the seeds of the wildflowers and grasses are pressed well into the soil by the cattle, ensuring excellent germination for the orchids and many other species besides.

Valewood is open access countryside but please note that there are no visitor facilities onsite. We recommend visiting our Facebook page to explore the orchids in a 360 degree photograph.