Country diary: It’s worth getting your knees wet for these insect-eating beauties

Country diary: It’s worth getting your knees wet for these insect-eating beauties

Tunstall Valley, Weardale: The round-leaved sundews were making a meal out of mosquitoes, beetles and a cranefly’s leg

At the end of an exceptionally warm month, with barely enough rain to dampen dusty footpaths, I half expected this little spring-fed mire might have dried up. But there it was, reassuringly squelchy, with its bright green cushions of sphagnum moss. Never underestimate the capacity of this bog-builder to hold on to water in dry summers; its leaves are living sponges.

From the bottom of the slope, you would never guess this bog existed, tucked in among the bracken, sedges, rushes and withered bell heather. But walk uphill and the orange, spear-shaped seedheads of bog asphodel, trooping alongside a trickle of water, give a clue that the ground will soon be treacherous underfoot.

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