Lynchcombe Steps

Terraces - Lynchcombe, Somerset, UK. ID IMG_7562

Terraces – Lynchcombe, Somerset, UK. ID IMG_7562

Lynchet

These terraces, called lynchetts, are the signs of ancient field workings.  According to the Wikipedia:

The traditional theory on the formation of lynchets is that they may form naturally on the downslope of a field ploughed over a long period of time.  The disturbed soil slips down the hillside to create a “positive lynchet” (where the new surface is higher than the original surface), while the area reduced in level becomes a “negative lynchet” (where the new surface is lower).

Combe

A combe has several meanings, such as a steep sided wooded valley or a dry valley on a hillside.

Lynchcombe - Mendip Hills, Somerset, UK. ID JB1_4769

Lynchcombe – Mendip Hills, Somerset, UK. ID JB1_4769

Lynchcombe Reserve

From its names it is safe to assume this nature reserve has a lots of lynchets,  and has a small a dry valley on limestone rock.   A small stream disappears underground within dense woodland at the top of the combe.

Woodland around Ramspit Swallet - Lynchcombe, Somerset, UK. ID IMG_5371

Woodland around Ramspit Swallet – Lynchcombe, Somerset, UK. ID IMG_5371

The top of the combe has steep limestone sides.

Lynchcombe Lookout - Mendip Hills, Somerset, UK. ID JB1_7817

Lynchcombe Lookout – Mendip Hills, Somerset, UK. ID JB1_7817

The valley runs from the top of the south facing edge of the Mendip Hills and drops down the steep hillside towards the Somerset Levels.

This Somerset Wildlife Trust grassland reserve is probably not the best nature reserve in the world but it is part of a jigsaw that knit together to create a habitat across the Mendip Hills that is probably as good as anywhere in the world.

First thing in the morning at the top of Lynchcombe.

Sycamores at first light - Lynchcombe, Somerset, UK. ID JB1_7621

Sycamores at first light – Lynchcombe, Somerset, UK. ID JB1_7621

The views across the Somerset Levels are stunning.

Looking over Westbury Moor - From Cooks Fields, Mendip Hills, Somerset, UK. ID JB1_7806H

Looking over Westbury Moor – From Cooks Fields, Mendip Hills, Somerset, UK. ID JB1_7806H

Dry-stone walls criss cross the landscape.  Sadly, many are in a poor state.

The Living Landscape

However, it is the living details that make this landscape so important.

Rosehips - Lynchcombe, Somerset, UK. ID JB1_6331

Rosehips – Lynchcombe, Somerset, UK. ID JB1_6331

At this time of year the reserve is coloured by the golden hues of bracken fronds.

Bracken - Lynchcombe, Somerset, UK. ID JB1_6627

Bracken – Lynchcombe, Somerset, UK. ID JB1_6627

As their summer sugar supplies dry up wasps begin to annoy people as they search around for alternatives.  I’m not sure what they hope to find on ash keys.

Common Wasp (Vespula vulgaris) and Ash Keys - Lynchcombe, Somerset, UK. ID JB1_6117

Common Wasp (Vespula vulgaris) and Ash Keys – Lynchcombe, Somerset, UK. ID JB1_6117

Surprisingly, small butterflies continue to flutter around the reserve.

One special corner of a field is full of wild majorum flowers and is their favourite by a country mile.

Small Copper (Lycaena phlaeas) - Lynchcombe, Somerset, UK. ID JB1_6471

Small Copper (Lycaena phlaeas) – Lynchcombe, Somerset, UK. ID JB1_6471

Meadow browns just keep going.

Meadow Brown (Maniola jurtina) - Lynchcombe, Somerset, UK. ID JB1_6581

Meadow Brown (Maniola jurtina) – Lynchcombe, Somerset, UK. ID JB1_6581

And yet another brood of tiny brown argus butterflies.

Brown Argus (Aricia agestis) - Lynchcombe, Somerset, UK. ID JB1_6679

Brown Argus (Aricia agestis) – Lynchcombe, Somerset, UK. ID JB1_6679

Dragonflies are spreading their wings late into autumn.

Female Migrant Hawker (Aeshna mixta) - Lynchcombe, Somerset, UK. ID JB1_6385

Female Migrant Hawker (Aeshna mixta) – Lynchcombe, Somerset, UK. ID JB1_6385

And Finally…

Its a working place.  Much of the time the grassland is being grazed by sheep or cattle.

Sheep follow their leader - Deerleap, Somerset, UK. ID IMG_7372

Sheep follow their leader – Deerleap, Somerset, UK. ID IMG_7372

And, of course, the SWT are always working hard to improve the site.

You may also like...

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.