Etchingham and Robertsbridge

Field meeting reports

Meeting date: 3 May 2008

(Leader: Rachel Nicholson)

On a warm sunny day in late spring eleven members met near Etchingham (TQ72C).  We started recording by meandering slowly down Ludpit Lane, a typical Wealden lane with banks topped with hedges and trees, which included Prunus cerasifera (Cherry Plum), Crataegus x media (hybrid Hawthorn), Viburnum opulus (Guelder-rose) and Quercus cerris (Turkey Oak).  On the banks Viola reichenbachiana (Early Dog-violet), Orchis mascula (Early Purple-orchid) and both Luzula pilosa (Hairy Wood-rush)and L. forsteri (Southern Wood-rush) were found.  Crossing a damp field, where Arthur lost his stick in the long grass after photographing a fine specimen of Ranunculus repens (Creeping Buttercup), Alopecurus geniculatus (Marsh Foxtail) grew in a wet patch and in nearby woodland Ranunculus auricomus (Wood Buttercup) was recorded. Typical Rita, stopped off on her way home from Robertsbridge and walked back to the field for another unsuccessful search.

After lunch we drove to Robertsbridge (TQ72G), the observant spotting a few spikes of Cardamine bulbifera (Coralroot) on the way.  The station car park was pleasingly neglected and was probably formerly the goods yard.  Some typical railway plants included Senecio viscosus (Sticky Groundsel), Centranthus ruber (Red Valerian) and Erodium cicutarium (Common Stork’s-bill) which was growing on newly-laid ballast.  The star plant, however, was Saxifraga tridactylites (Rue-leaved Saxifrage), hundreds of them in an area securely fenced off, so difficult to photograph.  Walking on towards the River Rother Alan was in his element and soon found Ranunculus peltatus (Pond Water-crowfoot), Rorippa nasturtium-aquaticum (Watercress) and Cardamine amara (Large-leaved Bittercress).  The total number of records for the two tetrads was 320.