Meeting date: 21 May 2005
(Leader: Frances Abraham)
The propitious conjunction of leader and venue proved irresistible and so it was that 31 eager botanists were soon strung out in a loose concatenation in the damp greenness of The Mens. With Frances out in front we gathered a pile of ancient woodland indicator species, while knots behind her studied Sorbus torminalis (Wild Service-tree) and Crataegus in variety or pondered over Carex sylvatica (Wood-sedge) and C strigosa (Thin-spiked Wood-sedge) in close proximity; and Arthur and Beryl and others gave little master-classes… The pleasant sensation of being lost was only heightened when our leader declared that she was not entirely sure of our precise location! The primitive survival instinct, however, soon brought us to Badlands Meadows for lunch. Frances had arranged treats in the afternoon session. We waded through swathes of a square-stemmed Hypericum which turned out to be H. maculatum (CTW alerted us to half-clasping leaf-bases) and gazed in awe upon the only two patches in Southern England of Alchemilla filicaulis subsp vestita (Lady’s-mantle); for sedge fiends there was a good stand of Carex pallescens (Pale Sedge), and the orchidaceous among us duly adored the leaves of Platanthera chlorantha (Greater Butterfly-orchid). I can only speak for myself, but when we returned from an unexpected direction to the cars, any insidious doubts about Frances’ sense of direction were instantly banished.