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12 Limekiln Walk (12.5.19)

Posted 12/5/2019

This walk starts at the jetty in Kilchattan village (GR NS103550), by a wooden signpost pointing to “The Kelspokes”.  Before setting out, look through the gap to the right of the house called “Limekiln Villa”, opposite, and see the former lime kiln, now part of a private garden – you won’t be able to see it again on the walk.

Follow the track uphill between the houses until you come to a very sharp hairpin bend. You are now at the top of the kiln, the ruined building being formerly  a stable used in conjunction with it.  The track, through broadleaved woodland, stretches gently uphill before you; at the moment  the ditch on its right side is, unusually, completely dry.


As you proceed, note the range of ferns that are in the process of opening up.  Autumn, when the ferns are mature, is the best time for a detailed examination, but some basics are worth a brief mention here.  Bracken can be separated off immediately; it is the only one that grows as a single stem (though it has a vast underground network of rhizomes).  Three of the most common ferns  that display a number of fronds in the usual ‘shuttlecock’ shape are Male Fern (also Scaly Male Fern),  Lady Fern and Broad Buckler Fern.  Note the distinctively different leaf shapes:

Scaly Male FernScaly Male Fern

Lady FernLady Fern

Broad BucklerBroad Buckler                                                                                   

At the end of the wood a kissing gate leads onto the open hill (note the graceful Water Avens nestling in the ditch just before the gate).  Keep straight on, ignoring the finger post pointing across the ditch to ‘The Kelspokes’.

Bluebells and Water AvensBluebells and Water Avens

Looking backLooking back








This ditch still has a little water in it and it is here that most of the botanical interest can be found (I counted at least 30 species, many of them already in flower, but I’m sure there will also be plenty I’ve missed!). 

After a short distance the track enters another wood, this one comprising coppiced Sycamore and Birch.  Herein lies the reason for the track that you have walked up, the quarry that supplied the limestone for the kiln.  Subsequently it became a reservoir with water treatment works, and now is just a very large pond.  Note the Water Horsetails and Spikerushes growing at the water’s edge.  Have a peep into the woodland beyond the dam at the far end of the quarry and then return the way you came.


I’m listing just the species currently in flower, though there will be many more to come as the season progresses:

Bluebell Hyacinthoides non-scripta
Bugle Ajuga reptans
Lesser Celandine Ficaria verna
Colt's-foot Tussilago farfara
Common Dog-violet Viola riviana
Common Field Speedwell Veronica persica
Common Mouse-ear Cerastium fontanum
Daisy Bellis perennis
Dandelion Taraxacum officinale agg.
Field Forget-me-not Myosotis arvensis
Garlic Mustard Alliaria petiolata
Germander Speedwell Veronica chamaedrys
Gorse Ulex europaeus
Great Woodrush Luzula sylvatica
Greater Plantain Plantago major
Greater Stitchwort Stellaria holostea
Heath Milkwort Polygala serpyllifolia
Herb Robert Geranium robertianum
Ivy-leaved Toadflax Cymbalaria muralis
Lady's-smock Cardamine pratensis
Lesser Celandine Ficaria verna
Opp-leaved Golden-saxifrage Chrysosplenium oppositifolium
Red Campion Silene dioica
Red Rattle Pedicularis palustris
Ribwort Plantain Plantago lanceolata
Sea Sandwort (on shore) Honkenya peploides
Sweet Vernal-grass Anthoxanthum odoratum
Tormentil Potentilla erecta
Water Avens Geum rivale
Wavy Bittercress Cardamine flexuosa
Wild Garlic Allium ursinum
Wood-sorrel Oxalis acetosella