Warnham Mill Nature Reserve

Field meeting reports

Meeting date: 30 June 2012

(Leader: Arthur Hoare)

The purpose of this meeting, apart of course from gathering records for the new Flora, was to survey the Reserve before work is carried out on the millpond, which is likely to bring considerable change to the vegetation.

Eleven members gathered for a gentle day’s outing. It is a pity that there are few places where one can get to the open water of the main pond – the margin is very overgrown – but it was good to see Typha angustifolia (Lesser Bulrush) as well as T. latifolia (Bulrush), Carex vesicaria (Bladder Sedge) and Schoenoplectus lacustris (Common Club-rush). Peering from the boardwalk over an arm of the pond, we were pleased to see Oenanthe aquatica (Fine-leaved Water-dropwort), Ranunculus peltatus (Pond Water-crowfoot), Myosotis laxa (Tufted Forget-me-not), Carex pseudocyperus (Cyperous Sedge) and a carpet of Lythrum portula (Water-purslane). Some dipping ponds produced the uncommon Potamogeton obtusifolius (Blunt-leaved pondweed) as well as a range of more frequent aquatics. Some species, such as Sagittaria latifolia (Duck-potato), have been introduced to Warnham, and it is difficult to judge whether some others are native or have been planted.

The far end of the millpond grades into willow and alder carr, which can be crossed on boardwalks. We admired the enormous leaves of Petasites japonicus (Giant Butterbur) here. The winding paths through drier woodland produced Epipactis helleborine (Broad-leaved Helleborine) and a lucky few also saw a single plant of E. purpurata (Violet Helleborine).

By the golf course area Galium verum (Lady’s Bedstraw) and Sanguisorba minor (Salad Burnet) fattened our list, but must have arrived on introduced soil. In Walnut Tree Plantation Gareth excelled himself by finding the narrow-leaved, non-stinging nettle subspecies Urtica dioica ssp. galeopsifolia, which has seldom been recorded in Sussex. We tested it gingerly and lo, it did not sting.

We added a few species to the overall list for the Reserve, and 30 to the tetrad list – pretty good, considering that TQ13R already had over 300 species recorded post-1999.