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Winter Hill – 29 April 2018

Michael Keith-Lucas led a walk which started from the top of Winter Hill near Cookham on Saturday 29th April. It was a grey afternoon with a chilly wind. The walk started out along a track down the hillside. Garlic Mustard was flowering beside the path and a patch of Crosswort was noted. A sea of Bluebells could be seen in a large garden which backed on to the track. The walk continued along the bottom of a steep chalk hillside, with flowering Glaucous Sedge and Cowslips, and leaves of Salad Burnet and Common Rock-rose. Further along the hillside, many clumps of Meadow Saxifrage were just coming into flower. Michael then led the group down to Cock Marsh, with its string of pools and wet grassland. At the centre of the first pool was a big patch of flowering Water-violet, but frustratingly, the water was a little too deep for closer inspection. Other pools had flowering Water-crowfoot and the leaves of Water Dock, with Cuckooflower and Marsh-marigold flowering nearby. Unbranched horsetail spikes were poking up through the wet grass. High above, a Kestrel hung in the wind, while a Whitethroat was singing from a patch of scrub and the alarm call of a Blackcap was heard. Returning along the bottom of the chalk hillside, a number of small, bright yellow, conical Yellow Fieldcap fungi were spotted. Then on the track back up to the start, a big patch of Sanicle was found, with the first flowers opening up.

Pictures by Rob Stallard