THOUSANDS of orchids which grow in a roadside area of North Yorkshire have been destroyed by workmen digging up the ground to lay pipes.

The Yorkshire Wolds location, which is never publicised to deter rare flower hunters, has been described as a “sea of pink” in the summer, thanks to the blooming of orchids. However, this week a 140 foot trench was dug through the site, threatening the growing conditions of the common marsh orchids, pyramidal, and common spotted orchids, which need hard chalky ground.

Wildlife artist Robert E Fuller, who lives near the area, said: “Orchids have very special growing requirements. They need poor, hard, compact ground and it is now a squashy mess which will undoubtedly get invaded by weeds which will push out the orchids.

“This is one of the best orchid sites in the country. There are literally thousands of orchids here and in summer it is a sea of pink. “ It is a magical place and I just cannot believe that this has been allowed to happen.”