Oreham Common area

Field meeting reports

Meeting date: 29 July 2012

(Leader: Nick Sturt)

Oreham Common still supported Achillea ptarmica (Sneezewort) and Siliaum silaus (Pepper-saxifrage) but the general impression was that it badly needed grazing to restore its former glory.  The boundary between TQ21G and H crosses the Common more or less where the fourteen members converged and it was Arthur and Mike who were designated to keep the two recording sheets separate in the morning as their party sought to improve upon the scores of the squares.  Meanwhile, Dawn marched Rita, Richard and Gill south in TQ21G, returning with the prize of Thalictrum flavum (Meadow-rue) – a trophy unfortunately tarnished by its proximity to habitation where other native species fell under suspicion of having been introduced – and also a Callitriche (Water-starwort) which Elisabeth identified as C. platycarpa (Various-leaved Water-starwort).  Frances, Kathryn and the author headed off to the northern end of TQ21H where there were plenty of run-of-the-mill species to add to the card and an unexpected group of Salix pentandra to quicken the pulse.

Having lunched together, on to the strangely remote church of Newtimber, to cross a couple of meadows and stroll under the A23 and emerge as if by magic at the foot of the Downs.  Round Hill was not in great shape (and one hopes very much that when it gathers momentum the National Park will be able to bring back to condition such areas of chalk grassland) but its vertiginous slope did yield a good number of missing species such as Asperula cynanchica (Squinancywort), Carex caryophyllea (Spring Sedge) and Pimpinella saxifraga (Burnet-saxifrage) as well as the new find of Thymus pulegioides (Large Thyme).  This tetrad, TQ21R, was already standing comfortably over 300, but the visit produced a further 39 species without trouble and thus indicated how important it is to look at the missing species lists and make deductions about overlooked habitats, rather than just to judge by the total scores.