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).
A combe has several meanings, such as a steep sided wooded valley or a dry valley on a hillside.
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.
The top of the combe has steep limestone sides.
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.
The views across the Somerset Levels are stunning.
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.
At this time of year the reserve is coloured by the golden hues of bracken fronds.
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.
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.
Meadow browns just keep going.
And yet another brood of tiny brown argus butterflies.
Dragonflies are spreading their wings late into autumn.
Its a working place. Much of the time the grassland is being grazed by sheep or cattle.
And, of course, the SWT are always working hard to improve the site.