Two Wonderful Walks in June
By David Beer
Eastbourne Local Members Group
At last summer arrived in East Sussex and the Eastbourne group enjoyed walks in the fine weather to the Pevensey Levels and Cradle Valley SSSI.
On June 6th David and Marian Harding gave us a tour of their farm on the Pevensey Levels. In recent years they have planted a small woodland area which was full of birdsong - notably Blackcaps, Chiffchaffs and Song Thrushes. A large pond had been created and a reedbed extended .The result has been a marked increase in biodiversity. Flying over the pond were a pair of Emperor Dragonflies patrolling their territories as well as numerous Common Blue and Small Red Damselflies. We were treated to excellent views of Marsh Harriers, Reed Buntings, Reed Warblers, Swallows and House Martins. We could hear Cuckoos calling as we walked back to the dairy to taste their wonderful organic yoghurt drinks. In the distance the dairy herd could be seen grazing on the Sussex Wildlife Trust nature reserve.
On 27th June we met at High and Over for a tour of the Cradle Valley SSSI. This relatively small area of chalk grassland is a botanist’s dream. Chris Brewer, David Burton and Simon Hurt provided the botanical detail as we strolled through this beautiful downland habitat enjoying fine views across to the Rathfinny Vineyard. We recorded Pyramidal, Fragrant, Burnt and Bee Orchids as well as other rarities such as Bastard Toadflax. For many the numerous Round-headed Rampions - the pride of Sussex- was the highlight. In addition to the flora on view we were treated to thirteen butterfly species and a Silver Y Moth. The ornithologists within the group recorded over 20 species with Whitethroat, Lesser Whitethroat, Chiffchaff and Blackcaps still in good voice!