In spring, bluebells and other early spring flowers are always a welcome sight. The track edges are good places to spot early purple orchids and the meadows and glades are often covered in cowslips and primroses. Adders will now be looking for safe basking areas whilst hundreds, if not thousands, of common toads will be mating in the ponds.
As spring moves towards summer, Furnace Meadow will be full of pignut and pepper-saxifrage and betony will now be obvious. The shrubs around should be full of nightingales now: their beautiful calls and songs can usually be heard during the day mixed against a melody of whitethroats, blackcaps and possibly turtle doves. Woodpeckers will also be drumming in the woods.
In summer, the woodland butterflies emerge – look out for purple emperor, purple hairstreak, white admiral and silver-washed fritillary – the delicate white-legged damselfly can also be seen in the glades.
In autumn, Ebernoe is alive with the fruiting bodies of fungus: look out for grassland specialists such as waxcaps or in the main woods, species like magpie inkcap and garlic parachute – the smell of garlic should guide you to them.
purple emperor / Derek Middleton