Sidbury / Silk Hill, Salisbury Plain

South Wiltshire 29th May 2023
recording general
led by
Richard Aisbitt, John Moon and Sharon Pilkington

This meeting will take place on the eastern part of the Salisbury Plain Training Area (SPTA). Salisbury Plain, which is around the same size as the Isle of Wight, has been used by the military for training purposes for more than a century and is now the largest remaining tract of unimproved calcareous grassland in north-west Europe.  We will visit Sidbury Hill and Silk Hill and should see the following: Filago pyramidata (Broad-leaved Cudweed), Clinopodium acinos (Basil Thyme), Neotinea ustulata (Burnt Orchid), Astragalus danicus (Purple Milk-vetch), Tephroseris integrifolia (Field Fleawort) and other notable chalk downland plants.

Please note that there are restrictions on access to the ranges and army training will always take priority. We have chosen the Bank Holiday Monday as this is the least likely day for closure. However, it is still possible that we would have to cancel at short notice or restrict the area visited.

Visitors have to be accompanied by ‘red card holders’, who at present are allowed to take five visitors each. This means that we will have to limit numbers. Guests would need to book a place and leave us with contact details in case of changes. We plan to meet near Tidworth. In the words of John Moon, who will lead the outing, ‘getting there by public transport is just about possible’. Botanists of all standards welcome, including beginners.