Rob Stallard led a walk on the sunny spring morning of Wednesday 17 April, starting from the Three Horseshoes pub at Brimpton. First stop was the churchyard, where Meadow Saxifrage was growing on several of the graves. A footpath led along the field margin, down towards the valley of the River Enborne. Skylarks were singing high above, Blackthorn blossom was hanging on in the hedgerows and bright yellow Dandelion flowers were abundant. The next footpath followed the river bank upstream. There were Cuckooflowers on the bank and Marsh Marigolds in a wet ditch. Peacock, Green-veined White, Orange-tip and Brimstone butterflies were all seen here. The path continued through a poplar plantation, where a number of clumps of the parasitic Purple Toothwort were found amongst the grass and nettles beneath the trees. The route then crossed the river, which along this stretch marks the boundary between Berkshire and Hampshire, and into Inwood Copse. Bluebells were just coming into flower and there were good numbers of Solomon’s-seal plants. Wood Anemone, Greater Stitchwort, Common Dog-violet, Pignut, Primrose, Wood Spurge, Yellow Archangel and Common Twayblade were amongst the sightings here. A quiet lane marks the far boundary of the copse, and on the lane bank were Wood Mellick and Hairy Wood-rush. The walk continued across damp fields where a Grey Wagtail and two Brown Hares were seen. Skirting the edge of Ashford Hill, the route followed a track westwards and then a quiet lane back northwards. A Raven called from a pine plantation. The next footpath ran between shady banks that were covered by sheets of Moschatel. Approaching the River Enborne again, several more clumps of Purple Toothwort were found, this time on the Hampshire side of the county boundary. The final footpath started out through horse paddocks towards Brimpton Church. Several patches of the tiny-flowered Blinks were spotted beside the path. Continuing through a very stony arable field, Field Pansy was abundant and a patch of Corn Spurrey, with delicate white flowers, was discovered. A Whitethroat was singing from the hedge beside the footpath leading back to the village. The walk was followed by lunch at the Three Horseshoes.
Pictures by Rob Stallard and Fiona Brown