Orley Common is a true common – absolutely no-one owns it or has ever owned it – it belongs to us all. It’s probably been used since the Bronze Age and there have been small ancient Roman finds made here. Commoners in this part of South Devon used it to graze their animals until cars made it unsafe for animals in the 1960s.
It has a mixture of ancient woodland, limestone grassland and blackberries and bracken. It also has beautiful views. Here’s the view through my phone:
I’m here reasonably early in the morning so there’s a lot of bird activity. First, this Song Thrush is singing from deep inside a bush:
Then there’s a Robin flitting about in the Hawthorns:
The wild apple tree is in full blossom:
There are many Early Purple Orchids in perfect flower giving a wonderful pink contrast to the blue of the fading Bluebells in the woods:
Their spotted leaves are sometimes not spotted at all.
The Wild Garlic grows here in profusion:
There are also tiny flowers on the woodland edges. This is some sort of Speedwell, perhaps it’s Wood Speedwell? The petals are only a few millimetres wide:
I’m on my hands and knees with my camera on a pillow to photograph it.
Deeper in the woods I find a bird’s egg. I think it’s from a Blackbird:
There are also beautiful ‘ears’ of Jew’s Ear Fungus on a tree branch which look wonderful with the sun shining through them:
Just next to the Jew’s Ear fungus is a smell I recognise. It’s a Stinkhorn fungus:
And all of this belongs to us all.