New Forest It’s a muddy hole that holds water all year round. We could so easily have walked by without seeing it

The walking group stop as they see me peering into a net. “Can we ask what you’re doing?” I explain that I’ve heard there were shells in this pond and have come to find out what they are. As we talk, a blue-bodied dragonfly circles over the water. I tell them what it is and say that it has chosen this mucky pool as its breeding patch, and is probably waiting for a mate to arrive. “Thanks for the nature lesson,” they say with a smile, and head on.

This pond isn’t easy to find. We have only a rough idea where to look. To get to it we cross heavily cropped grassland with tufts of heather and ground-hugging gorse in among which is petty whin. This is a member of the pea family whose yellow flowers are carried on stalks with vicious thorns. We see it because it’s still flowering, much later than the guides say to expect it.

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Source: Guardian Environment