Orchid Hunting in the Chiltern Hills 2022

May 14, 2022 · Goring, United Kingdom
A one-day course with a chance to see a range of orchids and the specialised habitats they grow in.

Orchid Hunting in the Chiltern Hills

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 in Goring-on-Thames and then lift-sharing to Hartslock Nature Reserve, a quiet site on a hillside overlooking the River Thames which boasts an impressive list of orchids. From there we will travel to Warburg 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 management 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.


9:45 – 10:15              Meet and welcome. We’ll be parking in Goring for the day and lift-sharing to Warburg and Homefield Wood. Meet in the car park behind The Catherine Wheel pub (it’s called Wheel Orchard and it’s £3.40 for the period we’ll be there on the Saturday). Goring & Streatley Station also has parking (£3.30 for the day on Sat). It will be busy so make sure you leave plenty of time for parking! (We will be in touch before the event to ask for volunteer drivers to the reserves - who won't need to purchase tickets)

10:15 - 11:30               Lift-share up to Hartslock, returning the cars to Goring so no one parks by the side of the road

11:30 - 12:00               Lift-share from Hartslock to Warburg in 3 cars

12:00 - 14:30               Warburg

14:30 - 15:00               Lift-share from Warburg to Homefield Wood in 3 cars

15:00 - 16:00               Homefield Wood

16:00                           Drive back to Goring

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


Meet in the car park behind The Catherine Wheel pub (it’s called Wheel Orchard):

Wheel Orchard, Station Road, Goring, South Oxfordshire RG8 9HB

Google map location 

If this carpark is full, there is nearby parking at the train station:

Goring and Streatley. Gatehampton Road, Goring, Oxfordshire RG8 0EP

Google map location

We apologise for these slightly complicated arrangements, which are due to limited spaces at the reserves and not wishing to form huge convoys down narrow county lanes. Please just arrive with plenty of time to spare and all will be well!

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