Monday, 4 May 2009

Chudleigh Knighton Heath

After Ian had done some gardening on Saturday, he drove us to Chudleigh Knighton Heath for a walk around the nature reserve.

Mine hosts.

Each exploring their own little spot.

Chudleigh Knighton Heath is a Devon Wildlife Trust Reserve.

This Raft Spider (Dolomedes fimbriatus) was running out into the centre of the pond - its weight being so light it didn't break the meniscus of the water and it could run over the surface quite happily. Raft Spiders are the largest species of spider in Britain though this was only a small spcimen. Adult females are the larger of the species with bodies measuring 22 mm long and with a leg span of about 70 mm. Raft spiders are semi-aquatic and live their lives around acidic bogs. They are dark brown or black in colour with a large stripe of white or cream along their sides. They re not only capable of moving across water but can also submerge themselves for periods of time to protect themselves from predators. This is twice that Chudliegh Knighton Heath has provided me with an unusual spider species - last time it was the Zebra Spider.

This shiny beetle, a Phyllobius species, was on one of the birch trees on the heath.

This is a Pale Dog Violet (Viola lactea) - there were lots of them around the reserve.

This little spider is Araniella cucurbitina a very pretty species (assuming you like spiders, that is).

When looking for rare species it is all too easy to overlook the common but beautiful ones like these buttercups.

This is a Common Groundhopper (Tetrix undulata). It is the first time I have seen and photographed a groundhopper so I was delighted to add it to my life-time species lists.

We had lunch at Bovey Tracey - revisiting Country Cuisine in Fore Street as usual. (Does eating here once a year make us regular customers?). I love their Homity Pie. Homity pie is a traditional English open vegetable pie. The pastry case contains a mixture of potatoes, onions and leeks which is then covered with cheese. (Apple adds interest, but is not in the traditional recipe). Ian had one as well, Jo had their Spinach Puff which was equally tasty (I pinched a bit) and Helen had the Tuna and cheese melt panini.

This photo of the water mill (with the wheel just about visible) was taken from the car as we crossed the bridge over the River Bovey. Oliver Cromwell and General Fairfax crossed this same bridge on 9th January 1646 on their way to the Battle of Bovey Heath (but he wasn't in a Citroen Xara). The Parliamentarians scored a significant victory. Among the captured were four Colonels, three Lieutenant Colonels, five majors, eleven Captains, 140 other soldiers & 150 head of cattle.

1 comment:

Bryony said...

I do not like spiders, and yet the Araniella cucurbitina is very pretty. Am I not a paradoxical person?