Food and Drink
Please bring a small snack for the morning. There will be a late lunch (2 pm) at The Plough at Pyecombe.
We will stop at a second pub, Jack and Jill, in the late afternoon for a coffee or seconds drink.
Do not bring cars
I do not recommend bringing cars. On good weather days the top car park at Ditchling Beacon gets full very quickly. The lower car park is currently very wet in places; I was towed out of the lower car park last Sunday (16th of February).
Old Ant Hills
In the afternoon we will explore Wolstonbury Hill. What I like about the hill is the thousands of old ant hills.
Wolstonbury is owned and maintained by the National Trust and is listed as a Scheduled Monument.
"The main archaeological enclosure at Wolstonbury survives as an oval earthwork enclosing some 2.2 hectares (5.4 acre)."
Site of Special Scientific Interest
“The chalk downland of Wolstonbury Hill is rich in flowering plants and includes a number of uncommon species. Woodland is established in parts of the site.
Chalk grassland has developed on thin rendzina soils on steep slopes. The grasses sheep’s fescue Festuca ovina and upright brome Bromus erectus form a turf in which typical downland plants such as eyebright Euphrasia nemorosa, squinancywort Asperula cynanchica and marjoram Origanum vulgare are prominent. Rarer plants include round headed rampion Phyteuma tenerum and a range of orchids: bee orchid Ophrys apifera, fly orchid Ophrys insectifera, pyramidal orchid Anacamptis pyramidalis, early purple orchid Orchis mascula and the only known Sussex locality for one other species. Dyer’s greenweed Genista tinctoria is frequent in the grassland of the south-eastern outlier.
On the deeper soils at the foot of the escarpment woodland has become established. This comprises mature beech Fagus sylvatica with pedunculate oak Quercus robur and ash Fraxinus excelsior above an often dense ground flora of dog’s mercury Mercurialis perennis, wood false brome Brachypodium sylvaticum and bramble. There are also areas of younger, scrubbier woodland of ash and sycamore Acer pseudoplatanus with typical chalk-loving shrubs such as wild privet Ligustrum vulgare, dogwood Cornus sanguine and hawthorn Crataegus monogyna.”
Friends of Wolstonbury
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