Meeting date: 22 June 2014
(Leader: Bruce Middleton)
Bruce’s personal magnetism drew in 10 members to this remote outpost of West Sussex. They were quickly put to work surveying an area that had been cleared of the beastly Rhododendron ponticum to gather data to show how the native plants were reappearing. The search broadened beyond this first clearing to take in SU93A and F in general and some excellent plants were ticked off, including Ceratocapnos claviculata (Climbing Corydalis), Eriophorum angustifolium (Common Cottongrass), E. vaginatum (Hare’s-tail Cottongrass), Juncus squarrosus (Heath Rush) and Vaccinium myrtillus (Bilberry). There was a wander along the ancient track still bearing its pre-Anglo-Saxon name Pen-y-Bos, where Danthonia decumbens (Heath Grass) delighted, as did some welcome shade on this hot day for lunch. Eventually the party arrived at a reservoir (‘Blackdown Waterworks’) near which in Wolley-Dod’s Flora is mentioned E. W. Swanton’s find of Pyrola minor (Common Wintergreen). Alas, the removal of trees had not yet led to the reappearance of this rarity, but there were plenty of additions to the tetrad here to satisfy, for example Leontodon saxatile (Lesser Hawkbit) and some unexpected Linum catharticum (Purging Flax). Returning homeward, the stunning view across the Weald to the South Downs was appreciated, another benefit of the removal of invasive trees masterminded by Bruce.