Parham Park

Field meeting reports

Meeting date: 4 June 2011

(Leader: Frances Abraham)

Serene and sequestered beneath the magnificent Downs amid rolling parkland lay Parham House, seventeen SBRS members and – serenest of them all – Frances. It was especially good to have a strong contingent from Worthing completed by Beryl visiting from Somerset.  We embarked upon a tour of the four tetrads which converge in front of the main house, well furnished with species lists:  through sandy grassland punctuated by clumps of Carex spicata (Spiked Sedge) to ponds which, fed by the spring-line at the foot of the scarp, were still high despite the alarming drought of April and May. After lunch we got our eye in for Danthonia decumbens (Heath Grass), which revealed itself in quantity, Carex panicea (Carnation Sedge) and, in a damp ride, both Valeriana officinalis and V. dioica in close proximity (Common and Marsh Valerian).  It was shortly after this that Frances – by now not quite so serene – pronounced her brain ‘jellified’ and gave the map to the author.  By 4.45 numbers had dwindled and weary limbs were rested in front of the House before the final push uphill to the few remaining cars.  But even here there were notable plants – a patch of Carex arenaria (Sand Sedge) and a crispy clover which proved to be Trifolium striatum (Soft Trefoil).  To use a word beloved of the leader, the day was totally ‘fab’. We are grateful to the Parham Estate for permission to visit areas not normally open to the public.