Flora of Grin Low
Solomon’s Temple is a folly built on a hill above Buxton in the Peak District in Derbyshire, and is on a site of special scientific interest, SSSI at Grin Low. The area around Solomons Temple is chalk grassland, so a home from home for me! The surrounding woods and underlying cavern are also of scientific interest.
Flowers of open chalk grassland
As you can see in the main photo above, Solomon’s Temple sits on top of a hill, surrounded by short grass. The undulating ground was created by excavation and spoil heaps associated with lime kilns in the 17th to 19th Century. These produce local microclimates for the flowers.
This trip around Lincolnshire, Yorkshire and Derbyshire introduced a new Speedwell to me, Veronica officinalis, also seen on Kirkby Moor in Lincolnshire.
This Saxifrage was also new to me.
I had been reading about Tormentil recently, after spotting it in the New Forest last year. It doesn’t grow near me in Seaford.
Lady’s mantle was becoming a theme on this trip – I had already spotted it at Fountains Abbey.
I recognised the Twayblade orchid as soon as I saw the leaves, having recently gone in search of it on Seaford Head in Sussex.
Quaking grass is an item I sell in my dried flowers shop, so identifying Briza was not tricky.
This pic below was probably the most lush Milkwort I’ve seen. It’s probably Common milkwort Polygala vulgaris. I’ve read that it can grow up to 30cm high, but the ones I’ve seen in Seaford have been only 5cm. This is because I always see them on an exposed coastal location. Here, though, they were about 10cm or more, being inland and sheltered by the historic excavations.
Geum In the woods
I might have innocently expected any Geums I found in the woods to be Wood avens Geum urbanum like when I walked from Whitstable to Canterbury in Kent but no! Water avens it was, however the area was very damp.
Orchids at the bottom of the hill
In long grass at the bottom of the hill was a pretty patch of orchids. I’ve spent quite a lot of time looking at orchids this summer. The leaves are unmarked but the flowers are speckled so I’d go as far as to say Dactlyorhiza but no more than that!
More on identifying orchids
More about chalk grassland indicator species