Thursday, 4 July 2013

Braunton Burrows - a mass of orchids

THE closest thing that we have to a desert in the UK seems to be Braunton Burrows NNR in north Devon.  Every time we go there (its an annual pilgrimage for me and a penance for her) its scorching, without exception.  Traipsing around taking photos of wild flowers and insects on a really hot day is enough to stretch any relationship to breaking point...apparently...don't get it myself!

The burrows are a huge sand dune system, which are ever changing under the influence of the wind.  As a dynamic environment, with significant levels of exposure to dessication, a unique community of plants grow there.  In addition to the dry areas the dips and hollows (called dune slacks) can be quite marshy and these support a different community again. 

Southern marsh orchid
Dune slacks with abundant orchids

The damp areas are particularly rich in orchids - namely the early marsh orchid sub species coccinea (the brick red flowering spikes in these pictures), southern marsh orchid and marsh hellebore.  Other flowering orchid species found on our visit were pyramidal orchids and twayblades.

However these are not the only spectacular and special plants species;

Viper's buglos

Biting stonecrop


Common century


Evening primrose


  1. Looks like a great day out. Shame BB is so far from Colchester! I'm only just starting to 'get into' flowers (being mainly a birder), due to working with a botanist friend to develop a flower information mobile phone app. I hadn't realised what I've been missing. Btw, my wife and I organise split days - we both go somewhere of interest to each, with one dropping the other off

  2. I think I need to visit this place at some time.

    1. Yes I would recommend it it is pretty magical


Have your say...