Sunday, 22 August 2010

A Spetchell Place

Pyrausta aurata

By the river Tyne, just south of Prudhoe station is a chalk hill called the "Spetchells". The site was first used by ICI for producing agricultural fertiliser (sulphate and ammonium sulfate). In 1963 this plant closed leaving behind the "Spetchells" chalk hills - heaps of waste product which were subsequently turfed over. Now there aren't many chalk downs in Northumberland but this will do. It's covered in wild flowers, in particular St John's wort and corn mint (Mentha arvensis) , the latter which is the food plant for this rare moth pictured above. This is the only site I'm aware of for them in the county and there were hundreds when I visited. Previously there were only 2 records for the entire county!

The St John's Wort meant I also saw........

Lesser Treble-bar

If you know your plants then this place could hold a few surprises - it needs 'botanising'.


  1. Cracking photo of the Pyrausta, Tim.

  2. This is one of those places that you say I must go there but never seem to get round to it !!!!
    the next sunny day I'm there !!!!!!!!!!!!