An early purple orchid (Orchis mascula), caught by the morning sunlight on the edge of our recently cleared and increasingly verdant High Voltage ride.

Common dog violet (Viola riviniana). This species likes the partial shade found at a wood’s edge or light-dappled glade. It is the most important larval food plant of the pearl bordered fritillary – a declining butterfly species.

Cuckooflower (Cardamine pratensis). As the species name ‘pratensis’ suggests, this is a plant of meadows but it will also grow in damp woods and rides. It’s the larval foodplant and an important nectar source for the orange tip butterfly.

A bolting bugle (Ajuga reptans). More good news for the pearl bordered fritillary - this is their primary nectar source!

Hairy bittercress (Cardamine hirsuta), as the generic name ‘Cardamine’ suggests, is closely related to the cuckooflower (Cardamine pratensis).

Bracken fronds (Pteridium aquilinum) unfurling through leaf-litter. This oft-maligned fern provides the right level of shade for violets and so is an important plant in the management of habitat for violet-feeding fritillaries, including (yep) the pearl bordered.

 The two-toned yellow of primrose marks the start of spring under the still-bare canopy of deciduous woods like Tudeley.


A woodland path through a forest floor carpeted with unopened bluebells (Hyacinthoides non-scritpta). Watch the (green and leafy) space.


An appealing sight at the end of a stroll at Tudeley Woods!


For more information about the wildlife or the RSPB's work at Tudeley Woods, please feel free to contact me:; 07872 157 743; 01892 752 433.