High and Over

Field meeting reports

Meeting date: 7 July 2002

(Leader: Helen Proctor)

The morning was spent recording the chalk grassland flora on Cradle Hill. The downland immediately below the roadside produced a colony of Orchis ustulata (Burnt Orchid) and 35 flowering stems were counted. Further along the hillside another 21 flowering stems were counted. Anacamptis pyramidalis (Pyramidal Orchid) was flowering profusely, and three stems of Orchis apifera (Bee Orchid) were seen. A close inspection of the turf by the path revealed Thesium humifusum (Bastard Toadflax).

We lunched at the viewpoint at High and Over and then descended steeply to Frog Firle Farm. The area around the white horse had become covered with scrub, and Marrubium vulgare (White Horehound) had consequently vanished from its former site. However, it was found to have recolonised similar sites lower down the hillside, showing its preference for for the bare chalk near the steps and other open areas. Halfway down the hillside, Ranunculus parviflorus (Small-flowered Buttercup) was found, as well as Clinopodium acinos (Basil Thyme) and Geranium colombinum (Long-stalked Crane’s-bill).

The brackish marshes by the Cuckmere river produced Frankenia laevis (Sea-heath) and Glaux maritima (Sea Milkwort). Further along, Prunus cerasifera (Cherry Plum), Salvia verbenaca (Wild Clary) and Centaurea calcitrapa (Red Star-thistle) were noted before we returned uphill to the car park.