Littlehampton

Field meeting reports

Meeting date: 28 April 2001

(Leader: Alan Knapp)

Thirteen members assembled in West Green car park Littlehampton on the first sunny day that most of them had seen for a long time. West Green itself was spread with swathes of Trifolium suffocatum (Suffocated Clover) as we made our way across to the path to the twin anchors in search of the Poa infirma that a Hampshire botanist had reported last season: the grass was not found here but even punier specimens gave themselves away by their swollen stem-bases as Poa bulbosa. Nearby municipal flower beds yielded a good haul of Veronicas and Lamium amplexicaule (Henbit). Crossing the promenade the upper beach was sampled, the finds here including Crambe maritima (Sea Kale), Glaux maritima (Yellow Horned Poppy) and Honkenya peploides (Sea Sandwort). Clinging to the concrete pavement edge was one plant of Crithmum maritimum (Samphire), and the verges yielded quantities of flowering Erophila verna spp. verna (Common Whitlowgrass).

By now individuals such as Rita were beginning to form the word ‘lunch’ and so the party turned back along the wall of the pitch and put course where several special plants were growing at eye level, such as the two small Forget-me-nots Myosotis ramosisima and M. discolor, and Carex arenaria (Sand Sedge); here at last Tony was rewarded for his extreme patience by some Poa infirma.  I regret to say that in the hungry scramble for a nook sheltered from the keen south-west wind Frances and Frank somehow were mislaid.

After lunch Alan boldly led on back through the town via Sisymbrium orientale and over the footbridge to the western side of the Arun.  A good number of species were added on the way to the beginning of Climping Dunes, but there was just a suspicion of the morning laurels being quietly rested upon as pleasant conversations sprang up: probably it was the unfamiliar sun gently sapping ambition.

(This meeting was substituted for one planned at Graffham: many thanks to Alan for leading us in his inimitable style.)