A classic downland experience with secret woodland glades
Blackcap in Spring
Hawthorn was famously known as the May-Tree or may-blossom as it usually flowers in May, and once played a large part in May Day festivities. It can be seen flowering in hedges and woodlands in spring.
Males are very territorial and are often spotted basking on bare earth as they wait for females. Adults feed ragwort and thistles, while the caterpillars feed on sorrel. They like dry, sunny habitats.
The deep blue flower spikes of bugle can be found carpeting most habitats. The flowers attract many insects including white-tailed bumblebees, silver Y moths and common carder bees
Cinnabar moth caterpillar
This striped yellow and black caterpillar can be spotted munching away on toxic ragwort plants. This in turns also makes the cateprillars toxic which is a brilliant survival technique
This is the commonest blue found in the British Isles. While the male has bright blue uppersides, the female is mainly brown with some blue markings. Caterpillars hatch from eggs to feed on bird’s foot trefoil plants.
The arrival of swallows truly marks the start of spring. They overwinter in South Africa then make an epic flight of over 10,000km across the Sahara to return to raise a brood in spring.
The male has brilliantly-coloured blue wings, whilst the female is a rich chocolate brown. The both have a checkerboard margin to their wings. The caterpillars feed on the delicate yellow horseshoe vetch.
Small heaths emerge...
The small heath is an inconspicuous little butterfly that flies only in sunshine. Its wings are always kept closed when at rest. Despite its name it can be found in a wide variety of habitats.
Skylarks can be spotted rising above the ground and hovering on high as they fill the air with their song of liquid sunshine. Skylarks nest on the ground, laying three to four eggs each time.