HAVING THE BLUES

My early spring butterfly transects (surveys) have thrown up the usual native overwintering suspects, namely the likes of the Peacock, Brimstone and Small Tortoiseshell butterflies.  Our fantastic reserve is home to many types off butterfly that come to feast on the variety of wild flowers.  Notable visitors/residents include the Marbled White, Green Hairstreak, Small Copper and the Brown Argus.  None are as striking, mysterious or unique as the Blues that make the Hill & Holes their home. 

The Chalkhill (on the wing Jul-Aug), Common (May-Aug) and Holly Blue (Apr, May & Aug) butterflies are to be found at various periods on the Hills and Holes.  The Chalkhill though not rare is normally confined to chalky downs of Kent, Surrey and Sussex.  We are privileged indeed to have a colony of Chaklhill so far north.

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Barnack Hills and Holes

Hills and HolesOtherwise known as Hills and Hollows this is a National Nature Reserve and a Site of Special Scientific Interest.

Its undulating mounds are the result of limestone quarrying in medieval times. The stone that was quarried here was Lincolnshire Limestone from the Jurassic period (205-142 million years ago). Known as Barnack Rag, it is a buff-yellow limestone that has been extensively quarried in the area since Roman times and was used in the construction of many of the local village houses and most impressively for both  Peterborough and Ely Cathedrals.

The blocks of stone were transported on sleds across to the River Welland and then loaded onto barges which travelled down the river Nene and other fenland waterways to also be used for the abbeys at Crowland, Ramsey, Sawtry and Bury St. Edmunds.

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