Pevensey Levels

Field meeting reports
Picture of Utricularia vulgaris (Greater Bladderwort)
Utricularia vulgaris (Greater Bladderwort). Photo: Brad Scott

Meeting date: 8 July 2017

(Leader: Jane Birch)

A fine warm day with some sunshine saw a good turn-out of fourteen people to White Dyke Farm on the Pevensey Levels to look at macrophytes in some of the ditches owned by Mr. & Mrs Walker. They kindly let us park some cars in their garden and gave permission for the group to wander off the footpaths.  Jane gave a brief introduction to the Pevensey Levels and explained that Natural England would welcome more information for this sector.

Picture of Potamogeton trichoides (Hairlike Pondweed)
Potamogeton trichoides (Hairlike Pondweed). Photo: Brad Scott

A really nice assemblage of species was found including three new records for the tetrad. The first ditch was full of the nationally declining Hydrocharis morsus-ranae (Frogbit) and Oenanthe fistulosa (Tubular Water-dropwort) both of which were in full flower. The group looked at how dominant the invasive non-native Hydrocotyle ranunculoides (Floating Pennywort) can be in a ditch when it gets established, and Jane explained the investigative work being done to try and control the spread. At the next two ditches Jane got out her grapnel and people were able to look closely at some submerged species including Potamogeton pectinatus (Fennel Pondweed), the nationally vulnerable Potamogeton acutifolius (Sharp-leaved Pondweed) and Hottonia palustris (Water-violet). All the native duckweeds were found with the exception of Wolffia arrhiza (Rootless Duckweed) which is usually found further east on the Levels.  A number of emergents were also found, including both Alisma plantago-aquatica (Water-plantain) and A. lanceolata (Narrow-leaved Water-plantain), and Butomus umbellatus (Flowering-rush).

As we moved from ditch to ditch a rota was set up to retrieve Jane’s walking pole and grapnel, at least one of which had been left behind each time!

See also: Brad Scott ‘The Bridge’. Sussex Bryophytes. 10 September 2017