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Found on the ridgeway in oxfordshire yesterday
It's one of the broomrape family. My guess is Knapweed broomrape - Orobanche elatior
They are parasitic plants, which don't have chlorophyll - hence the lack of green leaves etc.
This one is usually parasitising Greater Knapweed, Centaurea scabiosa
Not common, so a good spot, and nice photo too!
More info here (and elsewhere!) http://www.first-nature.com/flowers/orobanche_elatior.php