Monday, July 04, 2022

Lizard Orchid at Newmarket Racecourse.

The second in an occasional series of orchids two weeks past their best.

I had been vaguely aware of Lizard Orchids on Devil's Dyke. A kind of 'I should go and see those someday' awareness. But browsing through Orchid Hunter's videos I found this clear and precise instruction of where to go. 

So on the way back from North Norfolk (more anon) I followed his instructions, parked on the corner of Heath Road near Burwell, walked about half a mile along a path, over the A14 on a footbridge, then bizarrely found myself on Newmarket Racecourse with the stands in the distance, the pristine white fencing and well watered turf in front of me, and across that the continuation of the Devil's Dyke.

Once back on top it was gloriously easy. After about 50 yards my 21st century fieldcraft skills kicked in, and I followed the well worn looping path off the main path to the frizzled remains of a Lizard Orchid. A walk of not more than 100 yards produced I would guess about fifteen more spikes, mostly well past their best. I did find one still with some flowers on, fortunately, and took a few photos.

Orchid Hunter went down into the ditch itself, and probably this is the best thing to do, but time was not my friend and I'd seen what I came for. Enough to make (another) mental note that next year I need to be a bit earlier in the year.

But how odd. That on a regular basis I've been driving back down the A14 from Brecks/Norfolk trips, and on the stretch between the two A11 turn offs, about a mile past the BP service station is a footbridge, and about 200 yards away at most across the adjacent racecourse is a stand of Lizard Orchids. All those trips, and I never knew. 


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