Washington Common

Field meeting reports

Meeting date: 27 June 2009

(Leader: Frances Abraham)

Led by Frances Abraham, we climbed up from the backwater that is now the old London road into woods and so into TQ11B, where we learned from the warden that reclamation of the heath had involved re-introducing the heather with seed gathered from nearby Sullington Warren.  The fourteen-strong team focused its energies on the long glade in the next tetrad with its rabbit-grazed sandy turf, finding miniature Cerastium semidecandrum (Little Mouse-ear) among drifts of Vulpia bromoides (Squirreltail Fescue) and Rumex acetosella (Sheep’s Sorrel), with scattered Aphanes australis (Slender Parsley-piert).  Despite Frances’ tempting offer of sixpence, we could not re-find the Botrychium lunaria (Moonwort) seen here by Frank Penfold in the 1950s, but people were happy at their work.  Pressing on westwards through the leafy Piglands development, a lunch revolt was quashed, although passions ran high and the Hon Sec was heard to accuse Alan of being a ‘Half-past-one-ite’.  Sandgate Park occupied the afternoon.  We baked on the heath with Juncus squarrosus (Heath Rush) and rejoiced in Anagallis tenella (Bog Pimpernel) by a muddy crater before suddenly plunging into shade where a tiny stream was the haunt of Athyrium filix-femina (Lady Fern), Blechnum spicant (Hard Fern), Oreopteris limbosperma (Lemon-scented Fern), Carex echinata (Star Sedge) and, doubtless, the sort of nymphs who favour such spots.  By now Frances’ relationship with the map had broken down irretrievably and she felt that it was time for another to lead the way.  Step forward Pat’s daughter Ann, who had been keeping her mother in line splendidly throughout the day. We sailed back through further sylvan habitation (houses among trees), still finding species to interest us until we were back on Washington Common.