One of my favourite local short walks is a simple stroll through the dunes one way, walking or paddling back along the beach. I was actually hunting for wild orchids, which I was told grow there at this time of year. Although I was unsuccessful, it was a lovely walk, the dunes empty of any signs of human life. The evening primroses had run mad, creating a landscape filled with deep yellow, and there were plenty of other wild flowers to enjoy and I found some wild fennel that made a lovely addition to a stock for the skate that I cooked a few days later. A couple of days later, a friend sent me some photographs of orchids that she had taken in the dunes, so they really are there if you look in the right place! The beach was particularly idyllic. A lone man was swimming in the sea, and I was paddling up to my shorts in the warm water. My orchid-finding friend commented that in all the years she has lived here she has never seen the sea so intensely blue, and this year it does indeed have all the luminosity and saphire beauty of the sea at Cornwall. There was nothing much on the strandline, except for a whole spider crab; it is more usual to find their component parts.
Common restharrow (Ononis repens). According to the Wildlife Trust website, “common restharrow has extremely tough, thick roots that spread in a dense network and, during the days of horse-drawn cultivation, could stop (‘arrest’) a harrow in its tracks.” Apparently, when eaten by cattle it taints dairy products. The roots are reputed to taste like liquorice when chewed.
Scarlet Pimpernel (Anagallis arvensis)
Red Valerian (Centranthus ruber) in a sea of marram grass