About Field Trips

One day outdoor walks are arranged during the native orchid season. The Society tries to hold these all over the country so that all members can take part if they wish. We hope that new members will take advantage of our field trips: they are an excellent introduction to the orchids across the country and an important means of meeting other enthusiasts.

We are always looking to run new field trips and to have trips in all areas of the country, so that all members participate in these. Trips can be a couple of hours or full-day, weekend or weekday. We have written guidelines available that will help you organise your field trip. If you would like to consider running a field trip please contact the Field Meetings Co-ordinator, or speak to him at any HOS meeting.  We have written guidelines available that will help you organise your field trip.


General enquiries to Field Meetings Co-ordinator

HOS Field Trips 2021

As things stand with the Covid pandemic now in mid-March, we expect to run the following field trips.  We wanted to run other trips, but there are still various question marks over the viability of some sites. These field trips are for HOS members only and must be pre-booked via email, quoting your Membership Number. Accompanying spouses/partners must also be members; it only costs £3 to upgrade to family membership. You may be asked to show your membership card so please take it with you.  We hope that new members will take advantage of our field trips: they are an excellent introduction to the orchids across the country and an important means of meeting other enthusiasts.

You must make your decision whether you are fit and healthy enough to participate in any particular walk. General indications of difficulty are included below, but on the day weather and underfoot conditions may make the trip more difficult. In general you should prepare as for a remote country walk and expect uneven ground.

We normally collect a voluntary donation to any organisation that maintains a site visited.

Your Safety

Please note that participants are responsible for their own safety. Areas visited often have no mobile signal. The leader does not carry any first-aid or emergency equipment. The leader’s role is to help you find your way around the area and help you to see more orchids than you would if you went on your own. Orchids tend to grow in wild or brownfield areas. Some trips may include steep slopes or boggy areas. Participants, if in doubt, should contact the organisation running the sites visited or look at any relevant web sites describing these places.

Friday 21st May: East Kent
Leader: Alan Blackman
email: blackman@hardyorchidsociety.org
Unfortunately cancelled due to Covid restrictions

Parkgate and Denge Wood to see Monkey, Greater Butterfly, Fly and Lady orchids (in their best UK location). Up to 12 orchids are possible. Less than two miles of easy walking. Note that this trip requires car sharing between sites due to very limited parking.

Saturday 29th May: North Downs, Surrey
Leaders: Ken & Gillian Elsom
email: elsom@hardyorchidsociety.org

Sheepleas is an orchid-rich SSSI on the dip slope of the North Downs.  Expect to see Birds-nest, Fly & Greater Butterfly Orchids, White Helleborine and Common Twayblade, potentially others too.  Moderate walking of about 5 km.

Monday 31st May (Bank Holiday): Northants / Cambs
Leaders: Brian Hodgkin and John & Judy Kingston
e-mail: bhodgkin@hardyorchidsociety.org

Our first trip to the East Midlands for a long time. Barnack Hills and Swaddywell Pit for Man and Bee Orchid. Seven orchids are possible. One to two miles of easy walking.

Saturday 5th June: New Forest
Leader: David Hughes
email: dhughes@hardyorchidsociety.org

For Platanthera bifolia, Dactylorhiza incarnata, Dactylorhiza praetermissa and Gymnadenia borealis. Some bog walking. About two miles of walking.

Saturday 12th June: Bedfordshire Chilterns
Leaders: Richard & Geraldine Hogg
e-mail: hogg@hardyorchidsociety.org

Cowslip Meadow, Luton for Bee Orchid, Common Spotted-orchid (CSO) and Southern Marsh-orchid (SMO), plus hybrids between CSO and SMO.
Barton Hills (NNR) for Pyramidal, Bee, CSO, Chalk Fragrant (CFO) and possible hybrids between CSO and CFO. Most years there are also CSO var. rhodochila (there were three plants last year, all different).
Totternhoe (BCN Wildlife Trust) for Man Orchids, Musk Orchids, Bee, Pyramidal, and CSO (including possible var. rhodochila).
Short distances but some of the chalk mounds are steep, so good shoes are required. This is a great opportunity for new members to see many of our best orchids in substantial numbers, along with some of their varieties and hybrids.

Saturday 12th June: Minchinhampton & Rodborough Commons, Gloucestershire
Leaders: Colin & Angela Scrutton and Maureen & Nigel Denman
e-mail: CScrutton@hardyorchidsociety.org

The commons support a rich flora of orchids including Common Spotted, Common Twayblade, Common Fragrant, Bee, Pyramidal, and Frog. Lizard Orchid is a possibility and bicolor and trolli varieties of Bee Orchid may also be found.  If time permits also Selsley Common for Fly Orchids. 

https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/minchinhampton-and-rodborough-commons

Saturday 19th June 2020: around Leeds
Leader: Charlie Philpotts
email: CPhilpotts@hardyorchidsociety.org

Three sites around East Leeds area to see Common Spotted-orchid, Northern Marsh-orchid, Southern Marsh-orchid, Pyramidal Orchid, Twayblade, Common Fragrant-orchid and Bee Orchid. There will also be a wealth of other wildflowers as well as birds and butterflies. Easy walking but good footwear essential.

Saturday Afternoon 3rd July: Greywell Moors, North Hampshire
Leaders: Peter & Jane Vaughan,
email: pjvaughan@hardyorchidsociety.org

The site specialities are large numbers of Marsh Helleborine, including var. ochroleuca, and Marsh Fragrant-orchid. Southern Marsh-orchid, Common Twayblade, Pyramidal Orchid, Broad-leaved Helleborine and a few Bee Orchid var. belgarum are also present, although the latter has often gone over by early July. The site is relatively compact, and so we will walk less than a mile. The ground is uneven, wet and sloping in places, so good footwear is essential. We may also visit Bartley Heath to see Heath Spotted-orchids.

Saturday 10th July: Cumbria
(restricted booking – please only book if you have not been to this site before)

Unfortunately - now Fully Booked
Leader: Alan Gendle e-mail: AGendle@hardyorchidsociety.org

Burton Fell (Cumbria WT reserve) for Epipactis atrorubens plus var. pallens (yellow flowered variety),  E. x schmalhausenii (atrorubens x helleborine hybrid), E. helleborine & E. phyllanthes var. vectensis. Over a mile walk and 200m uphill to get to a limestone pavement where the plants grow. Sure footedness and a sense of balance required.

Sunday 11th July: Cumbria
(restricted booking – please only book if you have not been to this site before)

Unfortunately - now Fully Booked
Leader: Alan Gendle e-mail: AGendle@hardyorchidsociety.org

Sandscale Haws, NNR (Barrow in Furness) for Epipactis phyllanthes var. pendula, E. dunensis & E. palustris. Over a mile walk over dune slacks – relatively easy terrain.

Special Visits

This year we have three special trips to sites that are home to nationally rare orchids.  There is some uncertainty about each of these visits at this time and they are each organised differently. All these trips are to see single groups of plants, so they are highly unpredictable in terms of flowering time.

Irish Lady's-tresses: Wales, July 2021
Leaders: Sue Parker and Pat O’Reilly
email: sue@first-nature.com

When flowering of these plants in 2021 is confirmed (probably around early July) joining instructions for visits (around mid-July) will be sent out by email (to the pre-existing list of interested parties) and via the HOS website and forum.  See Sue Parker’s Winter 2021 Journal article for more details about the site and how these orchids were found here.

Red Helleborine: Windsor Hill, near Princes Risborough,  Chilterns
Late June (possibly first days of July)

Registrations to: hosft@hardyorchidsociety.org

This has recently been the only site where this orchid flowers in the UK.  Violet helleborine should be present too. Please note that there are very steep hillsides and these can be very slippery after rain, although the total walking is about a mile.  The orchids are in an enclosure so you can only get within a few metres of them – bring your lenses. This trip will probably be on a weekday, although it may be on the weekend – please state if this affects your availability. BBOWT (the local Wildlife Trust) always has a fee per individual for guided reserve walks and indeed the warden will be on site to explain the history and current conservation policies.  We need to collect donations to match these fees and to contribute to the recent extensive conservation efforts at this site.

Essex: End May/early June

There is an additional special visit. For details, see the Spring Journal.