Meeting date: 15 May 2016
(Leaders: Geoffrey Kitchener/Helen Proctor)
27 botanists crowded into the car park at Scotney Castle for the customary Sussex/Kent cross border meeting on a dry, mild and sunny morning. A circumnavigation of the Estate was planned in order to add to Sussex records and help the KBRG with their monad recording. The River Bewl forms the Vice County boundary. We set off up the lane where a bank provided eye-level botany. A rich sandstone flora included an attractive pink-flowered form of Bitter Vetch (Lathyrus linifolius). We continued downhill through a field where Ophioglossum was spotted. We passed through pasture with a single stem of Orchis mascula (Early Purple Orchid). The second field had a much more diverse flora with Conopodium majus (Pignut) and masses of Lotus corniculatus (Common Bird’s-foot Trefoil). The highlights though were finding Viola canina (Heath Dog Violet) and the hybrid with V. riviniana (Common Dog-violet), Viola x intersita. Geoffrey gave an impromptu workshop on the features which identify the hybrid. We retraced our steps, stopping to admire a patch of Ranunculus hederaceus (Ivy-leaved Water Crowfoot) on cattle-churned mud by the stream. We crossed the Bewl to the Kent side where restoration has brought about the return of heather and associated heathland species.
See also: The Scotney field meeting on Twitter