Shaped by man

In the countryside near Lenham Heath are two Wild Sites that demonstrate perhaps better than any other how man’s activities can both blight and benefit the landscape. They were the venues for our photography workshop on July 21st.

Chilston Pines and Ponds is a fragment of a larger parkland – very much an ornamential, man-made landscape – cut through and cut off first by the M20 and then by the Channel Tunnel Rail Link. What remains is now managed by the Heaths Countryside Corridor, a conservation group who have bought up land locally. With its iconic pines, many other veteran trees and ornamental ice pond brimming with wildlife, it was a great start to the afternoon for our photographers.

A short minibus trip brought the group to Bull Heath, a long-disused sand quarry, where nature has created a rich and fascinating ecosystem on the blank canvas left by quarrying. The unusual carpet of lichens and mosses, the sandy cliffs and the pond with its many dragonflies all kept participants busy.




Second time lucky at East Blean

The late spring and slow start to summer has affected so many wild species this year, and butterflies are no exception. Cool, cloudy weather and the late emergence of the heath fritillary butterfly led to us postponing a photography workshop focusing on this species.

The event went ahead on Sunday, June 30th and, although numbers were down on what we expected, this rare and beautiful butterfly did show itself. In fact the hotspot was just yards from the car park! Once everyone had got some good shots, a walk through this internationally important woodland yielded a few more sitings of heath fritillaries and encounters with dragonflies and lots of wood ants!

We hope you enjoy the images of one of Britain’s rarest butterflies.