The Woodland

The ‘Great Storm’ of 1987 caused devastation across large areas of the South east; the great mature Beech trees that stood on the hilltop forming the ‘Ring’ took the full force of the storm; many of them blew down.

Trees on the Clump after the storm

Trees on the Clump after the storm ©Bob Brown

Today a few trees remain of the original ‘clump’ that were planted by the Carr-Lloyd family of Lancing Manor but they still make a beautiful show as you walk around them.

It is said they were inspired by the trees of Cissbury Ring on a hilltop north of Worthing.  Some of the founding members of the Friends took part in clearing up activities and planted many new Beech trees.

Today the woodland is a varied mix of Ash, Beech, Hawthorn, Blackthorn, Elder, and occasional Wild Cherry and Field Maple trees which are hosts to Common Ivy, Dog Rose and Old Man’s Beard.

Woodland plants grow in the dappled shade including the Early Purple Orchid, Wood Anemone, Arum Lily, Spurge Laurel and Sweet Violet.

In Autumn, several species of fungi are found including Golden and Shaggy Pholiota, Puff Balls, Jelly Ear & Parasol Mushrooms

Anemone nemorosa

Anemone nemorosa

On October 20th 2007 a commemorative Beech Tree was planted to mark the 20th anniversary the Great storm of 1987.

Joe, Grace, Katherine help plant the commemorative tree

Joe, Grace & Katherine help plant the commemorative Beech tree

In the following January of 2008 the Friends were joined by a small army of Brownies, parents and  local people in planting 50 more trees to commemorate the anniversary of Great Storm. These  comprised of 30 Beech, 10 Field Maple and 10 Ash.

In addition a conservation group from Lancing College joined in and planted small saplings they had brought with them.

Joe Barow tells the volunteers about the value of planting trees

Joe Barrow tells the volunteers about the value of planting trees

In early December of 2009 the group took part in the event called Tree-o-clock organised by the BBC in support of National Tree Week.

The Speckled Wood butterfly enjoys the dappled shade of the woodland while the brambles attract the  Comma, Red Admiral, and Peacock.

The varied habitat of the reserve attracts resident and migrant birds including Yellow Hammer, Stone Chat, Robin, Chaffinch, Great-tit, Blue-tit, Long-tailed tit, Magpie, Wren, Skylark, Jay, White Throat, Wood pigeon, Green and Great Spotted Woodpecker.

Winter visitors include the Fieldfare, Redwing and Mistle Thrush.

At dusk on warm summer evenings bats can be seen skimming the tree tops catching flying insects on the wing.

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