Field Reports

Thursday 20 July 2023.  Seaford 

Joint Meeting with Seaford Natural History Society

On a, thankfully, dry and sunny morning, six Chi Nats members were warmly welcomed by a friendly team of members from the Seaford Natural History Society. It was to be a most enjoyable and informative visit and we thoroughly recommend people to make the journey across to East Sussex.

Seaford Head is the best spot to enjoy the iconic view of the Seven Sisters Cliffs but there’s much more to it than that. It’s part of the Seaford Head to Beachy Head Site of Special Scientific Interest, designated for its outstanding biological and geological features. The geology is particularly unusual with a layer of sand overlying much of the chalk cliffs. This results in rare communities of both chalk and acid-loving plants growing together, with rare butterflies, bees and other insects associated with them. Other habitats include scrubby woodland, wetlands, semi-natural grassland and vegetated shingle – an absolute patchwork. The different areas are managed by the Sussex Wildlife Trust, The National Trust and Seaford Town Council and a management committee exists involving all interested parties.

The Seaford Society conducts several surveys in the Reserve and different members took it in turns to show us around and tell us about their methods and findings. We started with the dew pond near the car park, progressing to hearing about both the reptile and butterfly surveys. Two of their members had recorded sightings of 17 species of butterflies just two days before our visit. Making our way down Hope Vally we arrived at a great location for The View and a short talk about the loess and other visible geology. We were also shown the rare Moon Carrot (very noticeable in moonlight apparently!)

Making our way back up to the car park, members of the group were constantly diverted by sightings of insects and plants – it’s lovely to share with fellow enthusiasts. A final view was down into the Cuckmere Valley which may be returned to salt marsh (like Medmerry) in the current plans of The National Trust.

Many thanks to the friendly, knowledgeable and well prepared Seaford members. (Check out Seaford’s website and the sightings on their Facebook page)

Gill Hance (Photos Chris Hance)

Group appreciating the view at Seaford!

The Dew Pond

Bosham Church

Chichester, West Sussex

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