Edge of the A303, part 2

The UK has left the odds and sods spots for nature. We should be ashamed.

Yes, France, Italy, Spain and the USA have some great locations to view wildspaces and the natural inhabitants that occur there. For example, the limestone meadows of the Dordogne, the Italian Dolomites with their iconic mammals, Grazelema and the lynx reserves in Southern Spain and one the only places we have been to in successive years – Yellowstone in the USA, where wolves have been successfully introduced and two species of bears are alongside you. Post World War Two the UK farming lobby held sway and so did their tractors – goodbye hedgerows, chalky hillsides, watery meadows and even nature reserves. Add to that the destruction thrown around by Mrs Thatcher in her Countryside Act and we are left with precious little in the way of protected or natural land. The forest behind me and many upland areas are, so called, Sporting Estates – many kill badgers, birds of prey and anything that might inhibit a bit of £ grabbing. It is a disgrace. What are we passing onto our grandchildren?

Well done politicians.

So, today I wandered the edge of one of the UK’s main trunk roads in search of some remnants of our flora. A leftover corridor of churned up land polluted by lead, particulates and the detritus thrown up from the road surface and the idiots who cannot be bothered to take their rubbish to a bin. But, it is a better-than-nothing spot to seek out interesting plants.

After years of the road authorities organising to cut the verge in peak flower season, this year they cut it early and the peak flower season was saved. I hope my complaints finally reached them. More likely, it saved them £0.50p and I was ignored, again.

A303 / A3093 jounction.
The top pf the cutting

It is now a relic of chalky grassland, with rather little grass in most spots. There are nearly bare cuttings, a short grass edge of carriageway and a more diverse flora at the top of the bank.

Fragrant orchids

The bank has seedling dogwoods, some junipers and little else … except delightful orchids – frangrant, spotted and pyramidals. Above, keeping company with oxeye daisies are a few dozen bee and a few thousand more pyramidal orchids. The white helleborines and twayblades (see last article on the A303) have vanished from sight.

Spotted orchids usually have spotted leaves.

Broomrapes, yellow-wort, mignonette, weld and other delights are there to see. Rough hawkbit and that wonderful, but such diminutive, fairy flax with its delicate white flowers that stretch my eyesight to see clearly.

Two for the price of one – pyramidal and bee orchids
The elegant design of yellow-wort with dogwoods as background

While this is ‘my’ edge of A303, most roads will have their access points or junctions with open or wooded areas – so, have a look … you might find a cannabis farm as a friend did! I wondered where all his sudden wealth came from.

So, fight for your corner of our planet. Don’t let the developers get away with everything … even an edge of a road is worth fighting to get cut at the correct time and every hedgerow is home to some creatures.

Please pass on this site to others of like minds. No adverts here!

Fairy flax

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