Thursday, 9 July 2009

Cornwall in full bloom!

I enjoyed a wonderful long weekend in Cornwall, which I mainly spent with my nose close to the ground and my plant key in hand as I delighted in the mass of flora. Just on one headland, I found wild carrot, sea carrot, thrift, red valerian, purple loosestrife, tormentil, cinquefoil, wild thyme, stonecrop, sea and red campion, seaside centaury, rock samphire, sea aster, sea plantain and hawkweed. The habitats varied dramatically as I walked along the coast, from hedgerow conditions, to exposed cliffs and hillsides, to bogs. It was the first time for me that I noticed meadowsweet, hemp agrimony, horsetail and hedge woundwort on a cliff path! Foxgloves were everywhere, as were the ample clumps of flowering wild thyme. Along the path to St Ives was an abundance of betony and self heal, forming a yellow and purple patchwork with the kidney vetch and birds eye trefoil. I found a tiny hypericum and miniature galium: I am not sure which ones they were. The wood sage was on the verge of flowering. 
What an extravagant abundance and variety!
As I walked, I could hear the seals singing to each other. Once, I caught a close up of one as it drifted past, casting an inquisitive eye over me as I scrambled over the rocks where I had found the sea plantain. 
The Cornish coastline is a magical place, as indeed are so many parts of our coastline. Walking out to see the sunset; scrambling down to beautiful, deserted beaches; sitting against the warm granite on Zennor Head, gazing out to see and watching the butterflies chasing each other. Happy days!