The walk started on a cloudy morning from the Needles Eye Cafe car park. Everyone was given a map of the Milford Pleasure Grounds.
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Local landowner Colonel Cornwallis-West was not financially able to make Milford into the seaside resort he was hoping for, like Bexhill on Sea. There is no pier, esplanade, bandstand or hydropathic centre, nor a busy port at Keyhaven. Otherwise Milford-on-Sea would not have the charm and character it has today, designed by architect William Ravenscroft who died in 1943.
We had a short walk along the cliff top where Viper's Bugloss and Red and White Campion were found. We entered Tony Locke Orchard, on the edge of Studland Common, where many trees have been planted by Milford Conservation Volunteers who manage many of the green areas along with the Parish Council.
Robin and House Sparrow were seen, and then as we walked into the meadow a Buzzard flew over. The meadow was full of bees and butterflies in the summer, so we must return next year.
|Marmalade Fly © Tina Vaughan|
We came out of the meadow and turned left at Iris's bench where there are old Badger sets. On the Common there were many Goldfinches enjoying the seed heads. Lesser Knapweed, thistles, Common Agrimony, Burnet Rose, Perforate St John's Wort and Wild Basil all grew there as well as Parasol Mushrooms and Common Puffball.
|Robin' Pincushion and rose hips © Richard Smith|
We entered the wooded Pleasure Grounds but being distracted by the fighting Buzzard the group accidently split into two directions. We paused to look at the red berries of Black Bryony entwined around Sloes and Blackberries. Spindle berries were not quite ripe but would soon turn pink. The separate groups found each other again, difficult with poor phone signal.
|Black Bryony berries and Sloes © Tina Vaughan|
Walking through the woods there were fungi including an impressive group of Parasol Mushrooms as well as Hazel Woodwart and Beechwood Sickener. A Green Woodpecker yaffle was heard and a Willow Warbler seen. Cyclamen grew in the bank as we approached the Mill Pond, maintained by the houses that surround it. It was quite choked with Common Reed, but still housed a family of Moorhens, a Kingfisher and large carp and some Rudd. Giant Horsetail was growing very well, as was Bittersweet (a nightshade). Nearby we found Alder Leaf Beetle larvae made patterns in the leaves.
|Bittersweet © Richard Coomber|
|Rudd in the Mill Pond © Richard Smith|