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Orchid Hunting in the Chiltern Hills

May 23, 2020 · Bix, United Kingdom

Orchid Hunting in the Chiltern Hills

A one-day course with a chance to see a range of orchids and the specialised habitats they grow in.

Join Leif Bersweden, author of The Orchid Hunter, for a day of orchid hunting in the Chilterns Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, one of the most orchid-rich locations in the country.

Many of our chalk-loving native orchids hit their peak in late May, so the flower-rich grasslands and quiet woodland glades of the Chiltern Hills are the perfect place to encounter our country’s most charismatic plants and learn about their ecology, conservation and habitat management – with plenty of time for taking photographs of course!

We will be meeting at Warburg Nature Reserve, a quiet site nestled in a valley near the village of Bix which boasts an impressive list of orchids. There is ample car parking space as well as facilities. We will then lift-share to visit Hartslock and Homefield Wood, both of which are a short 25/30 minute drive away.

During the day we could find as many as fifteen different orchid species, including old favourites like Bee Orchid, Fly Orchid and Greater Butterfly Orchid as well as more mysterious species like Bird’s-nest Orchid. Leif has a particular interest in Monkey, Lady and Military Orchids, the species’ he studies for his PhD, all three of which will be found – plus the rare hybrid between the former two.

As well as looking at the orchids there will be a chance to learn the other specialist plants of these habitats, plus discuss managment techniques for promoting their conservation.

About the tutor:

Leif Bersweden was born in 1994 and grew up as a botanist in rural Wiltshire. He graduated with a degree in Biology from Oxford and is currently a PhD student at Kew Gardens.

Leif is the author of the botanical bestseller The Orchid Hunter (Short Books, 2017) and co-author of Winter Trees(Field Studies Council, 2013). He is also a botanical tutor, running plant identification training courses for The Species Recovery Trust and the Dorset Wildlife Trust. In a world where an interest in botany is becoming increasingly rare, he wants to help put plants back on the map and he’s endeavouring to do this through his teaching, research and publications.


10am welcome at Warburg. Lift-share to Hartslock
10:45 - 12ish Hartslock. Drive back to Warburg
12:30 lunch
1 - 2:30 Warburg, Drive to Homefield Wood
3 - 4 Homefield, Drive back to Warburg

What to bring

  • Footwear appropriate for the outdoors (mostly level ground but some slight inclines)
  • Notebook and camera (optional)
  • Suncream

To maximise time in the field we will be having a picnic lunch, so please bring suitable food and water with you to keep you going throughout the day.

Any problems on the day please call Leif on ‭07949 872234‬


We will be meeting at the Warburg Reserve near the village of Bix.

From the A4130 turn into Bix Village. Turn left into Rectory Lane. Go down steep hill and turn left at bottom, signposted Bix Bottom. Continue along the lane (some potholes so drive carefully) for about 1 mile until reaching the car park on the right.

Google map location here

For more information see the BBOWT website: https://www.bbowt.org.uk/nature-reserves/warburg-nature-reserve

New Course for 2020!

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