South Hill

South Hill is a postage stamp size nature reserve in South Somerset managed by the Somerset Wildlife Trust.  It has open access so I made a detour on the way home from work and spent an hour exploring this reserve.

South Hill - Nr Somerton, Somerset, UK. ID 822_1661

South Hill – Nr Somerton, Somerset, UK. ID 822_1661

Just One Hour

South Hill is  a tiny patch limestone grassland and scrub near the town of Somerton in the heart of Somerset.  Its so small David Beckham could probably kick a football from one end to the other.

I tried to do some research but there is very little on the web about it even on the SWT pages.  I discovered there is no parking so I left he car down the road and walked back.  Walking down the road you cannot see the reserve.  Its hidden behind a huge imposing hedge. I was happy to see the Somerset Wildlife Trust sign and hopped over the stile to be presented with this view.

South Hill - Nr Somerton, Somerset, UK. ID 822_1292

South Hill – Nr Somerton, Somerset, UK. ID 822_1292

Not a promising start, but I only had a hour so nothing to lose.

South Hill - Nr Somerton, Somerset, UK. ID 822_1671

South Hill from the far end – Nr Somerton, Somerset, UK. ID 822_1671

A word of warning.  This may look like a smooth flat field but its not.  There are a large number of holes hidden under the grass.  I would wear boots if you value your ankles.  And tuck you trousers into your socks to avoid those ticks.

The Cast

Just one hour should be plenty for this tiny field – or so I thought.  Once I opened my eyes and started looking I found more and more to see.  To my surprise a huge cast of residents came out with the evening sun.

The first cast member to show up was no surprise – but was hard to spot.  I have a habit of looking at each blade of grass as I walk around and in the dull light it is very easy to miss this resting common blue.

Common Blue (Polyommatus icarus) - South Hill, Somerton, Somerset, UK. ID 822_1392

Common Blue (Polyommatus icarus) – South Hill, Somerton, Somerset, UK. ID 822_1392

As the evening sun appeared so the common blues started to fly and feed.

Common Blue (Polyommatus icarus) on Birds-foot-trefoil (Lotus corniculatus) - South Hill, Somerton, Somerset, UK. ID 822_1642

Common Blue (Polyommatus icarus) on Birds-foot-trefoil (Lotus corniculatus) – South Hill, Somerton, Somerset, UK. ID 822_1642

I am not sure if this butterfly had lost something but it put its head in there for several minutes.

Common Blue (Polyommatus icarus) it is in there somewhere - South Hill, Somerton, Somerset, UK. ID 822_1648

Common Blue (Polyommatus icarus) it is in there somewhere – South Hill, Somerton, Somerset, UK. ID 822_1648

The ground is covered in beautiful yellow and blue.

Birds-foot-trefoil (Lotus corniculatus) - South Hill, Somerton, Somerset, UK. ID 822_1723

Birds-foot-trefoil (Lotus corniculatus) – South Hill, Somerton, Somerset, UK. ID 822_1723

And my favourite beetle was back.

Swollen-thighed beetle (Oedemera nobilis) on Birds-foot-trefoil (Lotus corniculatus) - South Hill, Somerton, Somerset, UK. ID 822_1598

Swollen-thighed beetle (Oedemera nobilis) on Birds-foot-trefoil (Lotus corniculatus) – South Hill, Somerton, Somerset, UK. ID 822_1598

Swollen-thighed beetle (Oedemera nobilis) on Dog Rose (Rosa canina) - South Hill, Somerton, Somerset, UK. ID 822_1457

Swollen-thighed beetle (Oedemera nobilis) on Dog Rose (Rosa canina) – South Hill, Somerton, Somerset, UK. ID 822_1457

Even a meadow brown made an early season appearance.

Meadow Brown (Maniola jurtina) - South Hill, Somerton, Somerset, UK. ID 822_1836

Meadow Brown (Maniola jurtina) – South Hill, Somerton, Somerset, UK. ID 822_1836

As did this small heath.

Small Heath (Coenonympha pamphilus) - South Hill, Somerton, Somerset, UK. ID 822_1878

Small Heath (Coenonympha pamphilus) – South Hill, Somerton, Somerset, UK. ID 822_1878

The best was this tiny grizzled skipper who loved to return to the same patch of clover.

Grizzled Skipper (Pyrgus malvae) - South Hill, Somerton, Somerset, UK. ID 822_1859

Grizzled Skipper (Pyrgus malvae) – South Hill, Somerton, Somerset, UK. ID 822_1859

Plenty of other supporting cast.

Bumble Bee on Birds-foot-trefoil (Lotus corniculatus) - South Hill, Somerton, Somerset, UK. ID 822_1617

Bumble Bee on Birds-foot-trefoil (Lotus corniculatus) – South Hill, Somerton, Somerset, UK. ID 822_1617

Azure Damselfly (Coenagrion puella) - South Hill, Somerton, Somerset, UK. ID 822_1758

Azure Damselfly (Coenagrion puella) – South Hill, Somerton, Somerset, UK. ID 822_1758

Hoverfly - South Hill, Somerton, Somerset, UK. ID 822_1775

Hoverfly – South Hill, Somerton, Somerset, UK. ID 822_1775

There was still more to see such as the rabbits and the horses in the next field which watched nearly all of the time.  I came away very impressed and keen to return later in the summer.

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