Ambersham Common

Field meeting reports

Meeting date: 20 August 2000

(Leader: Rod Stern)

This last Pagham truth was demonstrated very well on this meeting when the party spent fifteen minutes studying a nightjar which had been flushed from the heather and was showing off its camouflage on a dead branch as if he had seen the standard illustrations.

Not since 1977 when Peter Hall led a Sussex Flora Society outing had the Society visited Ambersham Common but Rod, energetically assisted by Bruce Middleton, made up for the neglect by  marching us to some rewarding spots – a mire with much Narthecium ossifragum (Bog Asphodel) and Eriophorum angustifolium (Common Cotton-grass), a section of bridleway full of Anagallis tenella (Bog Pimpernel) and Radiola linoides (Allseed), a small piece of damp meadow by a stream which yielded only the second current West Sussex record for Galium uliginosum, (Fen Bedstraw) the roadside patch of Wahlenbergia hederacea (Ivy-leaved Bellflower)  originally planted (according to Guermonprez’s annotation in his copy of Arnold’s Flora) by ‘friends of Rev Edgell’ some time before 1909 probably from stock collected in Devon. Throughout the day Rod would disappear at times to refind special bryophytes and his identification of sphagnum species added particularly to the interest. The proceedings were thoroughly enjoyed by thirteen members and two guests. One of the latter was Eric Clement who provided several useful perspectives on our endeavours, for example the suggestion that we might well be overlooking Juncus x surrejanus (Hybrid Rush) which is quite frequently met with on the heaths over the border in Surrey.