The Chilterns

In 2000 we visited several sites in the Chilterns in Bedfordshire.  The majority of the thyme we found was Thymus pulegioides.

Thyme is part of the ecosystem colonising the tops of ant hills, together with fine grasses and Helianthemum, rock rose, taking advantage of the fine soil, rather than the predominantly chalky soil surrounding them.  They vary in size and some are at least 45 cm in diameter.  These ant hills are Little Miss Muffet's tuffet.

To see an enlarged version of a picture click on the relevant picture.

An ant hill on the west facing side of a
Roman quarry at Sharpenhoe Clappers,
near Barton-le-Clay, Bedfordshire.

Thymus serpyllum growing with fine grass
and Helianthemum, rock rose, on top of the
ant hill.

Thymus pulegioides growing in rough grass
at Little Hills, Totternhoe Knolls, near
Dunstable, Bedfordshire.

Thymus serpyllum growing on a south west facing slope in soil overlying chalk at Barton
Hills near Barton-le-Clay, Bedfordshire.

Chalk quarry at Sundon Hills in the Chilterns
north of Luton, Bedfordshire.

Thymus pulegioides growing with grass
on the south facing slope of Sundon Hills
Quarry. There is no soil overlying the chalk


Thymus pulegioides growing on the south
facing slope of Sundon Hills Quarry, higher
up than the site opposite. There is no
associated grass.

 Photographs © 2000  Margaret Easter.  No copying or reproduction permitted.