Weavers Down

Field meeting reports
Picture of Pilosella officinarum
Pilosella officinarum established in the sandy acid grassland. Photo: Nick Sturt

Meeting date: 22 June 2016

(Leader: Bruce Middleton)

Eight members assembled in several large puddles in Hampshire to be whisked back over the border to the safety of Sussex by Bruce in his trusty Land Rover. Inevitably there was much dithering around the vehicle at first and this yielded the first wonders of the day, Crassula tillaea (Mossy Stonecrop) and Carex muricata ssp. pairae (Prickly Sedge). Then the glorious expanse of Weavers Down – rolling acid grassland – beckoned, with characteristic species such as Erodium cicutarium (Common Stork’s-bill), Vicia sativa ssp. nigra (Common Vetch) and Holcus mollis (Creeping Soft-grass) and little patches of Calluna vulgaris (Ling) and Erica cinerea (Bell Heather). Damper conditions here and there yielded handsome spikes of Dactylorhiza praetermissa (Southern Marsh-orchid), sometimes in company with D. fuchsii (Common Spotted-orchid) and populations of hybrids; a few striking specimens gave themselves away as D x grandis. All was so absorbing that there were few complaints about the occasional misty drizzle, although Steven did mention more than once that his socks were wet through. Sue meanwhile was engaged on her grass quest and tutting at specimens of Agrostis insufficiently mature to be identified. Lunch was a relaxing affair, particularly Bruce’s account of his extravagant adventures at the Harry Potter Experience. A genuine wizard he is, however, since with his virtual wand he proceeded to conjure up several flowering plants of Parentuccellia viscosa (Yellow Bartsia)! The afternoon was completed by further and bigger drifts of Dactylorhiza, this time in the company of Dryopteris carthusiana (Narrow Buckler-fern), Carex nigra and C. panicea (Common and Carnation Sedge) and Ranunculus flammula (Lesser Spearwort). The contented company bumped back in the Land Rover aware that Bruce had once again produced for the SBRS pure magic.

Picture of Rosa micrantha
Bruce photographs Rosa micrantha. Photo: Nick Sturt