Field meeting reports

Meeting date: 5 June 2010

(Leader: Nick Sturt)

Five members (seasoned Dawn, Ernie and Judy, the vc13 Field Convenor and welcome new recruit Debbie) assembled by the dusty lane, somewhat daunted by the magnificence of the scarp shimmering in a heat haze. The steep grassland basked under the bluest of skies as the party picked its way up, noting 5cm spikes of Carex caryophyllea (Spring Sedge) and quantities of bright lemon-peel Pilosella officinarum (Mouse-ear Hawkweed). The restless binoculars of Ernie scanned the slopes and dazzling Adonis Blues skipped past; vertiginous and verdant banks were scaled and nooks explored: Ononis repens (Common Restharrow) not yet in flower, Polygala vulgaris (Common Milkwort) in a variety of decorative hues, embroiderings of golden Hippocrepis comosa (Horseshoe Vetch), the cucumbery essence of Sanguisorba minor (Salad Burnet).  At length the ridge was reached where more purposeful pedestrians moved at faster pace, and thoughts turned to lunch.  Indeed the Field Convenor had already introduced himself to his cheese sandwich when Ernie beckoned: one flowering plant of our quarry Tephroseris integrifolia (Field Fleawort) hard by the South Downs Way in the sort of short turf that it favours: near the grid reference of the last record but not quite spot on.  Over the rest of the picnic strategy was discussed and an earthwork identified in the next tetrad east, which a second grid reference seemed to confirm.  The approach above the precipitous slope, the anticipation, and then the long satisfaction of discovering one after another small group of the Tephroseris. The elation was considerable and photographs taken to record the occasion.  The walk back, down from Edburton Hill and along the base of the Downs, was brightened by two discoveries – some Ophioglossum vulgare (Adder’s Tongue) and the vision of a lately arrived Hon Sec in a fetching hat and neckerchief.  One gentleman’s day was complete!