Weights Wood, Great Dixter Estate

Field meeting reports
Picture of Scapania nemorea
Scapania nemorea. Photo: Brad Scott

Meeting date: 19 May 2018

(Leaders: Jacqueline Rose, Judy Clark and Ellen Campbell)

The aim of this survey and those in late summer was to show the Great Dixter managers how much of interest there is in the wider estate beyond the gardens. Martin Newcombe, ecologist and coordinator of the project, was involving people with different expertise to record in the area. Weights Wood, where we began, he thought had potential for surprises. We were blessed with a very warm, dry and sunny day. There was a nice turnout, including Brad who had been involved in a recent bryophyte survey in the wood.

It is acid woodland, mostly on clay with oak, birch, hazel, hornbeam and sweet chestnut coppice. On one side is a wide track with ancient boundary trees. We were delighted to find scattered Ranunculus auricomus (Goldilocks Buttercup) near here. Deep in the wood were two or three typically slender trees of Crataegus laevigata (Midland Hawthorn). There are damp and very dry areas, and a stream running along the north. Near the stream Martin pointed out a tree where Woodpecker chicks could be heard. We found Epipactis helleborine  (Broad-leaved Helleborine) and Orchis mascula  (Early-purple Orchid) and, near the end of our woodland tour, patches of Dactylorhiza fuschii (Common Spotted-orchid): none of them rare, but good to find. We recorded 125 species in all, a satisfying diversity. At the end Martin asked us for suggestions about the future management of the wood.

See also the follow-up meeting in August