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Things to Enjoy at Queenswood Country Park and Arboretum this Summer

Early summer is a magical time at Queenswood, a nature lover’s paradise. It’s a fantastic time for the country park, especially for orchid enthusiasts, pollinator watchers, and bird lovers. Here are four highlights recommended by Herefordshire Wildlife Trust to look out for on your next visit:

1. Orchids in Bloom 

Summer is prime time for orchids. The common spotted orchid, twayblade, and greater butterfly orchid are all in bloom and some of them are abundant. These stunning flowers not only add vibrant colour to the landscape but also attract a variety of pollinators, contributing to the richness and diversity of the woodland environment. 

  • Common Spotted Orchid (Dactylorhiza fuchsii): Known for its beautiful pinkish-purple flowers with dark spots, this orchid is a true delight to see. 
  • Twayblade (Neottia ovata): Look out for its subtle green flowers that might not be as showy but are equally fascinating. 
  • Greater Butterfly Orchid (Platanthera chlorantha): This elegant flower, with its pristine white blooms, is a must-see. 

2. A Buzzing Pollinator Paradise 

Queenswood is bustling with pollinators at this time of year. With an abundance of wildflowers carpeting the wood’s glades and rides, the area is a haven for insects, most noticeable are the butterflies. This diversity supports a vibrant web of life and offers a great opportunity for wildlife observation. 

  •  Common Butterflies: You’ll see a variety of these beautiful insects flitting from flower to flower, including common species like the Speckled Wood, Ringlet and large and small whites. 
  • Rare Sightings: If you’re lucky, you might spot the elusive silver-washed fritillary or high in the tree canopy the purple hairstreak, adding an extra thrill to your visit. 

3. Birdwatching Delights 

Bird enthusiasts will find plenty to enjoy, the summer migrants having arrived. Swallows have taken up nesting in the woodland gate, providing a charming sight as they dart and dive through the air. Their graceful movements and melodic calls are a joy to watch and hear. These agile birds are busy building nests and raising their young, offering a wonderful display of avian life. Spotted fly catcher will also be raising young, constantly catching insects and ferrying them to hungry chicks. 

More elusive are the warblers including chiffchaff, garden and willow warblers, most noticeable in the coppice area, you may not see these small birds but you will hear them. They have distinctive songs and this is the best way to tell them apart. Learning the songs and listening out for them is a great way to slow down, awaken your senses and connect with nature. 

4. Observing the Changing Trees 

The tree collection and surrounding woodland will be at its most verdant in early summer. Flowering is over and fruit is only just forming but leaves are fully formed soaking in the long hours of daylight, lush fresh green vegetation is everywhere full of revitalising life after what was a long wet winter and spring. The tranquillity of the woods, with sunlight filtering through the leaves, offers a peaceful retreat for anyone looking to escape into nature. 

Tips for Your Visit 

  • Bring Binoculars: Enhance your birdwatching and butterfly experience by bringing a pair of binoculars. 
  • Pack a Field Guide: A guide to local flowers and insects can help you identify the various species you encounter. There are plenty to purchase in the Visitor Centre on site.  
  • Stay Quiet and Patient: Wildlife can be skittish. Move slowly and quietly to increase your chances of spotting rarer species. 

Whether you’re captivated by the orchids, delighted by the pollinators, enchanted by the birds, or simply enjoying the serene environment, there’s something for everyone to appreciate.