Brede High Wood

Field meeting reports

Meeting date: 27 July 2002

(Leader: Patrick Roper)

An SNCI since 1993, Brede High Wood is owned by Southern Water and is managed sympathetically by Fountain Forestry, with the aim of making more of it accessible to the general public – in the process, the site of Orobanche rapum-genistae (Greater Broomrape) has been accidentally destroyed. In addition to the mixed woodland, there are open areas of acid heath, an old meadow, and an orchard. Damp rides lead down to Powdermill Reservoir.

The 13 members present, whilst trying not to trample on Centaurium pulchellum (Lesser Centaury) and the blue form of Anagallis arvensis (Scarlet Pimpernel), listened while Patrick Roper, who knows the wood well, warned us a) to keep together and b) if confronted by a boar to stand still – hoping it will think one is a tree?

We went first to the open heath where Cuscuta epithymum (Dodder) was growing on Calluna vulgaris (Ling), and then down a damp ride to see Isolepis setacea (Bristle Club-rush) and Scutellaria minor (Lesser Skullcap). Later, we forced our way through a thicket, helped by Mike Hollings, who produced his secateurs, to reach a sphagnum bog with Viola palustris (Marsh Violet) in it.

After lunch Patrick told us to find Radiola linioides (Allseed), which was much photographed. Later, he pointed out several seedlings of Sorbus torminalis (Wild Service-tree) at the base of a steep bank. He believes their successful germination is due to deer which jump down the slope and trample the seeds into the ground.

Although it was uphill all the way back at the end of the day, members were rewarded by the sight of a White Admiral and a Silver-washed Fritillary.