We were in Poole, a reasonably sunny day was in prospect and I decided to go off in search of the Marsh Fritillary, a butterfly I have not yet seen. According to David Newland's excellent book, Discover butterflies in Britain, Lydlinch is a reliable site in Dorset. It comprises a rectangle of common land bordered buy the A357 and A3030 roads to the west of the village of Lydlinch.
I parked on the A357 just before the junction and explored the common walking parallel to the A3030. It had become cloudy and nothing much was happening. Reaching the entrance gate on the A3030 which Newland describes as the start point for your butterfly search I was confronted with teh view of the common shown above. Marshy tussocks, scattered trees and occasionally more heavily wooded areas.
By now the sun was out and there were lots of Brimstones on the air. On the ground the dominant flower was Bugle, widely scattered through the tussocks.
On the edge of the wooded areas there were several orchids. This I think is Early Purple Orchid.
Of these two, the one on the right may be Marsh Spotted Orchid, but I don't know the one on the left. Every year when I see orchids I resolve to learn more, but so far without doing so.
There were unfortunately no Marsh Fritillaries, although I did see quite a few Orange Tip, and some Large and Small Whites. Also a few Comma, of which this rather battered and bird-nipped specimen consented to be photographed.
I followed the south east edge of the common back to my car and enjoyed this view towards Lylinch church (Perpendicular, i.e. 14th to mid 16th century, according to Pevsner) with the hills beyond.
I guess the obvious conclusion is that I was probably a little too early: Marsh Fritillaries are usually on the wing in mid May. But the real message is that I should probably check Dorset Butterfly Conservation's website for sightings before setting out. That said, this will be my only chance to visit this site for some while and at least I had a pleasant stroll and have got the lie of the land.
Conditions: alternate sun and cloud, quite windy.
Distance: about a mile and half.
Map: Explorer 129 (Yeovil and Sherborne)
Rating: three stars.