Early purple orchid at Folly farm

Early purple orchid with its distinctive blotched leaves

The early purple orchid is one of the first orchids to appear each Spring  in an English ancient woodland. It has about fifty small flowers which are arranged in a cone shaped cluster on a tall spike. Like many orchids it has a rather unpleasant smell. The leaves are very distinctive with dark blotches which some people think look like dried blood. An old name for the plant was dead men’s fingers.

In England we are supposed to be practicing social distancing because of the corona virus. However unless you have a serious underlying health condition such as COPD or heart problems the government is still encouraging you to go out and take some exercise in the countryside. We are lucky in the South West of England to have a lot of beautiful scenery and a wealth of plants and animals to enjoy.

Folly farm Avon wildlife trust reserve

I spotted the purple orchid at Folly farm a 250 acre nature reserve run by Avon wildlife trust. It is one of our favourite places to visit at this time of year. You can climb through a bluebell  wood to reach ancient wildflower meadows with views over Chew Valley reservoir and the Mendip hills. There is also a shorter trail that is accessible for wheel chair users and mums with pushchairs. It is free and there are toilets available. They also have an out door classroom which can be used by school groups. Dogs are not permitted and there may be sheep and cows on the site. It is usually quite quiet.

Folly farm was originally a ferme ornee  (a play farm) for Sutton Court estate and some of the original water features have been restored. The farm house itself is used for weddings and conferences and the profits are given back to Avon Wildlife trust.

For more details and directions visit Avon wildlife trust website.

Bluebells under the trees #Folly farm #Avon Wildlife trust
Bluebell wood

The wardens think that the fields may never have been ploughed and Avon wildlife trust try to manage the reserve without pesticide or fertilizer. This means that in summer there are lots of insects and butterflies to enjoy.

violets at Folly farm

This post will be added to flower of the day (FOTD)  photo challenge

and to Sunday stills favourite places photo challenge

Please click the links to see photographs by other bloggers.

Where ever you are in the world stay safe and I hope we will all be able to get out and enjoy the countryside without worrying soon.

Author: Anne Fraser @theplatinumline.blog

I am a retired nurse from Bristol. I am married with five grown up children, two grandchildren, a boy and a girl and two cats Heidi and Tilly. I like rambling, history and travel and I am hoping to connect with other people around the world who share my interests. I am especially keen to hear from other older bloggers.

4 thoughts on “Early purple orchid at Folly farm”

  1. I’m still out and about on my walks too and enjoying the green of nature. Those little purple orchids are lovely and would have brought a happy moment in your day I’m sure. Stay well and I’m thankful that we’re all able to appreciate the little joys that are still available to us.
    Thanks for linking up with us at MLSTL and I’ve shared on my SM 😊


  2. Hi Anne, I don’t think about orchids growing wild, although obviously they do. It is interesting that such a beautiful flower has an unpleasant smell. We are also still allowed to exercise. Thank goodness. Like you point out, the ripple effect of the insects and butterflies. Thank you for sharing. #MLSTL

    Liked by 1 person

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