St Dunstan’s Farm

Field meeting reports

Meeting date: 28 May 2006

(Leader: Pat Donovan)

After a gap of eleven years a return visit was made to David Hobden’s farm at Punnett’s Town. Being nearly a month earlier and following a cold spring may account for the fact that there were fewer plants recorded; some were not yet in flower, such as the Roses, including R. tomentosa, some were obviously missed, such as Salix aurita (Eared Willow), and one field was not visited.

However, the special plants were still in their right places: Phyteuma spicatum (Spiked Rampion) on the edge of the wood and, after some searching, Carex pulicaris (Flea Sedge) in the field above the wood. Genista tinctoria (Dyer’s Greenweed) and Succisa pratensis (Devil’s-bit Scabious) were in bud. According to David, the SSSI field is deteriorating in quality as no fertilisers are permitted, and the increase in Rhinanthus minor (Yellow-rattle) is diminishing the hay crop

Many other natural history groups now visit the farm, and a building has been converted to accommodate them, with chairs, interpretation boards and tea/coffee-making facilities, for which we were all very grateful.