Pyramidal orchids in Rye Harbour


The churchyard at Rye Harbour draws people to it for many reasons. A number of the local families have graves to tend and sit by, remembering their loved ones. Others come to pay their respects to the seventeen lifeboat crew who lost their lives in 1928. The memorial is a stone figure of a lifeboat man. It stands at the head of the grave where sixteen of the men are buried (one body was never given up by the sea). Above the figure is the inscription “We have done that which was our duty to do.” The memorial is the work of Mr. J Wedgwood ARCA.

During June, July and August there is another reason for visiting as there are pyramidal orchids in abundance. These orchids are a highly distinctive wildflower with a pyramid-shaped head of bright pink flowers. The colour, however, can range from deep magenta to pure albino white.

The pyramidal orchid is one of the UK’s commonest and most widespread wild orchids. The name “pyramidal” comes from the shape of the flowerhead when the flowers first start to open from the bottom, creating a clearly defined cone shape. Its densely-packed flower spike holds up to a hundred flowers and attracts a range of butterflies and moths.

Image Credits: Kt bruce .

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  1. They also grow along the Rother, on the riverbank north of the Rye Tennis Club. Bee orchids, too, in season. An environmental niche worth conserving. Here’s hoping that SUSTRANS’ plans for a bicycle/pedestrian path along the river comes to fruition, and that they pay attention to what is growing on the verges.

  2. I saw one in the recreation ground where the grass has been left to grow
    and there are just paths mown through it. It’s full of clover and bees.Let’s hope they leave cutting the grass till the orchid seed has dropped and there are more and they spread which would be wonderful.


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