Tour Details

Dates:6th of Jul - 6th of Jul 2024
Group Size:Minimum 3, maximum 12
Grading:Moderate. There will be some stiles, hills, and uneven stony ground. Sturdy walking boots / hiking shoes essential
PricesFull price: £95.00 / person Single room supplement: £0.00 / person Deposit: £95.00 / person
Price includes: Services of guide
Not included: Transport to and from the day's meeting point, food and drinks and other personal items, holiday insurance

Tour Highlights

  • A day of orchid hunting in the friendly company of European orchid expert Dr Richard Bate
  • Exploring the mosaic of limestone pavement and surrounding limestone grassland habitat of Helsington
  • Great numbers of Dark Red Helleborine, in addition to Lesser Butterfly Orchids and Heath Fragrant Orchids
  • Other rare limestone flora including Angular Solomon's Seal and Rigid Buckler Fern

Tour Description

The limestone pavement and surrounding limestone grassland of Helsington makes for an intoxicating mosaic of habitat, home to an enticing variety of scarce and rare wildflowers, including a particularly rich later summer orchid flora.

Chief amongst the orchids are spectacular numbers of Dark-red Helleborine Epipactis atrorubens, as featured in Leif Bersweden's botanical bestseller Where the Wildflowers Grow. Leif visited Helsington in the company of local botanist and European orchid expert Dr Richard Bate and, on this day trip, you can follow in his footsteps!

The Dark-red Helleborines are far from the only orchids we will see in fine numbers during the day - the area is also home to sweetly scented and delicate Lesser Butterfly Orchid Platanthera bifolia, and richly patterned Heath Spotted Orchid Dactylorhiza maculata.

Meeting at Helsington Church in the morning, we will spend the day on foot exploring the habitat of the area. A reasonable level of fitness will be necessary, though we should empasise that the pace will be gentle and we will have ample opportunities to stop and photograph the many beautiful orchids and other wildflowers we will encounter as the day unfolds. This is part of Richard's local patch, an area he knows like the back of his hand, and you could not wish for a better guide for a day of orchid-hunting in the English northwest.

Guests are asked to ensure that they wear sturdy and appropriate footwear, and in addition to their picnics and water also bring sunscreen, hats and insect repellant. Their reward for being intrepid and well-prepared will time enjoying a true botanical wonderland!

Guests may wish to make a weekend of it, and combine this day-trip with the Helleborines of Hutton Roof on Sunday 7 July, a day that will also feature many Dark-red Helleborines, and a high probability of encountering some of their more unusual and extreme colour forms.

Tour Leaders

Richard is a father of three, botanist, photographer and wildlife tour guide based near the South Lakes. His particular interest is in orchids, and this has led him to develop an expertise in the species of Britain and Europe.

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Tour Location


Tour Itinerary

  • 9am - meet at Helsington Church
  • 5pm - return to Helsington Church, and day concludes
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