Wild Orchids in Kent

Kent has a good variety of wild orchids and also many nature reserves managed by the Kent Wildlife Trust as well as some larger National Nature Reserves. These divide into areas of woodland and, importantly, traditional pasture never subjected to modern agricultural methods. Together, regular grazing and the absence of artificial fertiliser make for a meadow with short grass, supporting a much wider variety of plant and insect species. Marden Meadow is an outstanding example that sports a spectacular display of Green-winged orchids in April-May. How this particular field managed to survive "unimproved" I don't know; the majority of surviving ancient pasture is on steep hillsides that make modern farming methods uneconomic.

Each picture links to a high resolution image.

green-winged orchid

Green-winged orchid: Marden Meadow, 3 May


Twayblade: Wye NNR, 9 May

fly orchid

Fly orchid: Yockletts Bank, 10 May

spider orchid

Early Spider orchid: Samphire Hoe, 25 April

Early Purple orchid

Early Purple orchid: Park Gate Down, 24 April

lady orchid

Lady orchid: Wye NNR, 9 May

man orchid

Man orchid: Darland Banks, 19 May

white helleborine

White helleborine: Bonsai bank, 26 May

butterfly orchid

Greater Butterfly orchid: Bonsai bank, 26 May

common spotted orchid

Common spotted orchid: Bonsai bank, 26 May

monkey orchid

Monkey orchid: Park Gate Down, 17 May

fragrant orchid

Fragrant orchid: Park Gate Down, 3 June

birds nest orchid

Birds nest orchid: Kingston, 3 June

southern marsh orchid

Southern Marsh orchid: Sandwich Bay, 7 June

lizard orchid

Lizard orchid: Sandwich Bay, 7 June

pyramidal orchid

Pyramidal orchid: Park Gate Down, 14 June

musk orchid

Musk orchid: Park Gate Down, 14 June

bee orchid

Bee orchid: near Wye, 16 June

late spider orchid

Late spider orchid: Wye NNR, 16 June

broad-leaved helleborine

Broad-leaved helleborine, Kingston, 27 July