Treasures of the Gouliot Headland
This is the middle of Sark Tourism’s Wildflower Fortnight and the floral stars have been on top form. The hedgerows are splashed with the pink of campion and white swathes of wild garlic and many primroses and violets are still in bloom, to name but a few. It’s also peak season for bluebells with the best displays around Dixcart Wood, Harbour Hill, Happy Valley and the Gouliot Headland. The spring tides last weekend also lured me down to the Gouliot Caves once more. Here too there are signs of new life everywhere. Most noticeable are the oatenpipe hydroids with lend the walls of the lower caves a decidedly fluffy appearance. These thumb-length creatures are closely related to anemones and, when underwater, the polyp on the end of each stalk opens like a delicate pink flower. This is the best time of year to see these hydroids because there’s a sea slug that preys exclusively on their polyps. By mid summer they have all been nibbled away leaving just the headless stalks behind. Other natural treasures that I spotted included two species of cowrie and some plumose anemones left dangling until the tide returns.