Marsden Old Quarry, Marsden
I love the way the colours change through the season with the early bluish haze of the blue moor grass in April, giving way to yellow cowslips and hawkweeds, phasing into purple orchids and scabious as the summer moves on
- Clare Rawcliffe, Countryside Officer, South Tyneside Council
Marsden Old Quarry Nature Reserve is a patchwork site of a variety of habitats which include areas of lowland meadow and pasture, magnesian limestone grassland and some semi-improved neutral grassland. This site of approximately 6.3ha sees an abundance of wildflower species such as Kidney vetch, Hoary plantain and Common Bird's-foot Trefoil as well as Lady's Bedstraw and Bee orchids.
Species to spot
Best time to see: June - July
One of nature's mimics: this orchid looks like a bee visiting a flower, attracting other bees as they try to mate with it. Despite this clever strategy, in Britain the bee orchid is largely self-pollinating. Image © Plantlife/Tim Wilkins