The Northumberland coast has long stretches of dune helping to protect the shore from the North Sea storms. This dune strip is home to a variety of specialist plants including bloody cranesbill (Geranium sanguineum) which has been chosen at Northumberland’s county flower; it’s currently in full bloom providing a purple carpet over some large areas. Elsewhere other plants typical of the coast are also out in flower such as the uncommon hound’s-tongue (Cynoglossum officinale), a member of the borage family: the dark red flowers contrast with the greyish leaves. Dyer’s greenweed was also out in flower but others like rest-harrow will bloom a little later.
Many orchids are now providing some impressive colour too. At Linton lane nature reserve the common spotted and northern marsh orchids readily hybridise giving rise to some impressively large flower heads varying in colour from pale to dark purple. Here too some ringlet butterflies had newly emerged and will be augmented by many more over the weeks ahead with meadow brown appearing a little later in the year. The section of the reserve to the north is a little visited part of the site but there is a wealth of wildlife in this young but developing woodland.