On our recent day in the Isle of Purbeck, we left the village of Kingston behind and drove to the clifftop nature reserve of Durlston Country Park, just to the west of Swanage. Usually we walk along the coastal path which skirts the cliff edge, but on this summer afternoon we wanted to explore the wildflower meadows just inland. The poor weather of spring and early summer has hit butterfly numbers hard, but if any were to be found, they would be flying in the limestone meadows of Purbeck.
There are pathways through the meadows. Tall grasses and a profusion of alkali loving flowers were all around us. Above is a woolly thistle and below there are scabious, yarrow and wild parsnip among the grasses.
We helped this shiny blue red-nosed beetle across the path. He clung to a grass stalk and then crawled away into the undergrowth, away from passing feet.
We saw a few marbled white butterflies, gatekeepers and burnet moths, but non would stay still long enough to have their photograph taken!
Soldier beetles on an umbilifer ( hogweed?).
Skylarks are nesting in the meadows, so visitors are encouraged to keep to the pathways. We could hear the high, trilling song of a skylark way above us.
Around us in the meadows, bees hummed against the distant sound of the sea.
We walked on the path above Anvil Point Lighthouse........
........and watched distant, white sailed yachts out on the calm water.
We sat for a while in the heat of the sun, looking out over the sea.
Walking back along grassy pathways......
...., back into the meadows past wind-bent hawthorns........
...we stopped to look back across a wooden gate, to the shining blue of the sea.