Crenulated flapwort and its ilk

Ashdown Forest is particularly rich in bryophytes (mosses and liverworts). These are in many ways the Cinderellas of the plant kingdom; overlooked and under-appreciated, but a rich and important part of the Forest flora. In total, 250 species are currently known from the area, which is about half of those in the whole of Sussex.

Sphagnum moss

Sphagnum moss

Most of these lower plants are associated with damp habitats – ghylls and valley mires – but one habitat that is often ignored is the edges of paths and sandy rides. This is the home for several scarce liverworts, including Nardia scalaris (Ladder Flapwort), Jungermannia gracillima (Crenulated Flapwort) and Gymnocolea inflata (Inflated Notchwort). You have to love those common names!

Sandy ride-edge habitat

Sandy ride-edge habitat

At one time these were known to be frequent on the Forest but they are sensitive to any sort of pollution, and various factors – including increased vehicle numbers on the roads but also many more dogs in recent years – have led to them now being restricted to just a few places. Unlike most of the waste deposited on the Forest by deer and domestic livestock, dog faeces is high in nitrogen as a result of their protein diet. Dogs are also generally fed off the Forest, so their waste represents an importation of nutrients rather than a recycling of nutrients that were already present here.

Liverworts, in full stunning flower

Liverworts, in full stunning flower

Most people, particularly gardeners, would assume increased nutrients were a good thing. But many rare plant species are poor competitors and are easily crowded out by more aggressive species; increased nutrients can give those aggressive species an unfair advantage. A recent survey suggested that, out of all the bryophyte groups on the Forest, ride-side liverworts had suffered some of the most serious declines.

Just one reason why it is important to always pick up after your dog, and picking up doesn’t just mean bagging up – it means taking away too!

It would have biodegraded, but now it's safely bagged it will last for ages!

It would have biodegraded, but now it’s safely bagged it will last for ages!

The issue of dog waste is covered in our new Dog Owners’ Code of Conduct, available from the Ashdown Forest Centre.

IMG_9215_tonemappedSteve Alton

Conservation Officer

Kind-of Hearts and Carriageways

Hello 2015!

We are still in January but a few things have been happening already!

TomVista_tonemapped

This my first Forest photo of the year from near 4 Counties Car Park on the first litter pick of the year and just to reiterate again, would people PLEASE take their litter, especially dog poo, home with them!

It is worth saying a big thank you to all those who bought one of our virtually carbon free and heathland beneficial Christmas Trees! This is a pile of trees for awaiting collection that I saw in a car park (not on the Forest) and for those who also had an Ashdown Forest Scots Pine and didn’t contribute to this, give yourselves a pat on the back!

TomXmastrees_tonemapped

Moving on to more unwanted tree clearance, we have made a start with the removal of trees such as Silver Birch that if left unmanaged would dominate the heathland.

TomPoundgate_tonemapped

This is over near Poundgate and our truck loaded up with wood for our boiler. It’s been a challenge to carry out this work with the amount of rain we’ve had which has meant we haven’t been able to treat the stumps with herbicide.

TomHerald_tonemapped

From all this time being out and about, it is slightly ironic that my first wildlife sighting of note this year has been from inside our tool shed! This lovely little thing is Herald moth. They are known for hibernating in cool, dark places, like our tool shed, during the winter and it turns out that this could potentially be a local rarity. Whatever its status, I just think it’s really sweet.

This past week we have been taking out potentially dangerous trees from roadsides Forest wide. What we do and how we do it is fairly self explanatory but doing this work does mean we see some things that others wouldn’t.

TomHeartFor instance, I’m finding a few wooden body parts on these trees such as this heart (the heart of Ashdown Forest perhaps?). I actually found it about this time last year.

 

 

 

Next we have a slightly mossy brain.

TomBrain_tonemapped

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Finally we have grumpy looking Holly stump face.

TomFace_tonemapped

 

 

 

 

 

One slightly more real, and probably more interesting, thing hidden away out there is just by the A22/A275 junction at Wych Cross.

TomToll_tonemapped

This is the old toll board from the old toll house that used to be at Wych Cross. The story goes that when the toll house was demolished, the board, which is more of a stone engraving, was removed and reset in this brick block. Over time, it’s clearly been largely forgotten about but it is still there. You may be able to make out ‘Uckfield’ and ‘Lewes’ on there.

It’s lovely relic of a time gone by and on that note, that’s it from me.

Tom.

 

‘Forest’ doesn’t mean a wooded area, but…

…that doesn’t mean we don’t have a few trees!

For the last month we have been thoroughly engaged in the removal and collection of trees from the Forest for different purposes.

Firstly, we have spent a good few weeks felling Alder (Alnus glutinosa) (which for those who didn’t know is a member of the birch family) from a carr (wet woodland) on the Forest.

TomAlderCarr1_tonemapped

Now, felling trees in a wet woodland isn’t easy and you do have to become quite good at finding where is safe to tread, but it is doable.

This alder carr that we have been working in is habitat for the notably scarce Marsh Fern (Thelypteris palustris). The woodland has been managed on a rotation cycle and this was the first year that the first ‘coup’ (compartment) to be managed has been revisited in 24 years.

The rotational cycle of ‘harvesting’ the wood from one area, then another, then another, and finally back to first is what is known as coppicing. This woodland harvesting management technique has been practiced for a very long time.

The idea is that you can have a near continuous supply of wood and this is good way of maintaining biodiversity in the woodland due to the different ages (which means different height of trees, age of trees and amount of light that reaches the ground).

TomAlderCarr2_tonemapped

In this photo, the managed alder carr is the denser line of trees in the background and to the right are taller trees that we are currently felling; the next stage down in height marks another coup that will be coppiced at a later point in the cycle.

That area we were working did give the opportunity to enjoy sights you get at this time of year such as this little patch of Candle-snuff fungi (Xylaria hypoxylon).

TomCandlesnuff_tonemapped

 

Even the bonfires were helpfully photogenic at times. This was after lunch, where the centre had burned out and left a little flame flickering in the middle of the burned twigs, which I should explain are from the felled trees and is how we ‘clear up’ the unwanted brush.

TomFlame_tonemapped

It is that time of year when, walking through our drying room in the Visitor Centre, it looks like we are under attack from Scots Pines:

TomShaunoftheDead_tonemapped

Yep, we’re out collecting Christmas Trees that we sell, for £2.50 a foot, at the Visitors Centre. The point of the exercise isn’t just to provide trees to sell, for £2.50 a foot, but for the benefit of the heathland. If left alone, the heathland could become dominated by these trees, which we sell at the Visitors Centre for £2.50 a foot.

On one of our last visits to find trees to sell (for £2.50 a foot), I noticed something lying on the ground. It turned out to be a piece of tank track, somehow left behind from when the Forest was used for army practice during both World Wars.

TomTankTrack_tonemapped

It is now back at the Visitor Centre, just to the left of the door into the Information Barn along with other finds of this nature, where we are currently selling Scots Pine Christmas Trees for £2.50 a foot.

That’s about it for me in blog terms for 2014 except to say that I have now completed my first year of working on Ashdown Forest and it has on the whole been a very rewarding experience.

I fear though that I may have started a tradition of when a person completes their first year they have to bring in a cake for the Ashdown Forest team. I was pleasantly surprised with the feedback I received and it was followed up (in not a begrudging way at all) by Steve, who started a week after me. We are all looking forward to the first week in June which will mark the end of Ash’s first year!

I’ve learned a lot and am still looking forward to seeing the Great Grey Shrike that is somewhere between Gills Lap, Camp Hill, Old Lodge and Poundgate. I would like to say how much I have enjoyed writing the blog and the positive feedback I have had from people – thank you very much!

I would like to leave this year with the undoubted highlight my year on the Forest, summed up in this digiscoped image. It was on a litter round, on the 16th of June 2014, seen from Gills Lap Car Park and over looking Wrens Warren Valley on what I have come to think of as ‘The Day of the (Short-toed) Eagle’.

TomShortToedEagle

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from Tom, your friendly Countryside Worker.

Stop, go, stop, go…

Hello again!

Well, autumn’s here! Some may say winter, but I don’t like to think that way just yet.

The weather that has been coming through the country recently has affected our work a bit, but it has given us some wonderful ‘cloudscapes’ as the weather crosses the Weald.

TomSkyscape_tonemapped

That being said, there is one thought always in my head when I see the clouds in this way; “that rain is getting very close”! It’s a good incentive to get moving!

This past week we have been assisting tree surgeons along the A22 in Nutley. We have mainly been helping them by operating Stop/Go boards and by most people’s admission, it is simply the dullest activity! When you are the one stood in the middle telling the people on the boards what to do, you are constantly looking left, right, left, right so much I liken it to watching tennis with a chainsaw helmet on.

Another side of the job is that you have to wear high visibility clothing. Now, I understand that it is a very important to wear this but I have never worn anything quite as loud as these trousers and it does take some getting used too! Or maybe I’m just overly sensitive…

TomHiVis

Also, just to put this question out there, can anyone else see a face in here or is it just me?

TomSpringFace

This is top of one of our traffic sign frames and I’ve always thought that there was something ‘facey’ about it.

Aside from that, it’s back to the time of year when the wood burning boiler is warming up the Visitor Centre and Offices. Tom Chimney

I am still learning how to use the boiler properly, such as the correct settings of the air flaps on the front of the door, but I think a smoking chimney is a good sign!

It is a good time though to acknowledge an often overlooked member of the team, the log trolley!

It gets bashed, is out in all weathers and carries a very heavy load but we couldn’t do what we do without it!

I do think though that after pushing it around the yard this winter, we would be in a good position to start bobsleigh training.

TomFirewood

This is the time of year when the bird autumn migration is underway and unexpected birds can drop in! The Short-toed Eagle from earlier in the year was more of a freak occurrence than something just passing through, but the 2 Ring Ouzels (which in appearance are large Blackbirds with white breast bands) that have been on the Forest recently are regular migrants.

I was very lucky to see one after work on Tuesday when I went to the Old Airstrip and after waiting for a while, heard a weird noise, looked up and a ‘thrush’ was flying over; I just managed to see the white band long enough to tell what it was!

Another bit of wildlife that is around at this time of year is the Pale Tussock Moth caterpillar.

TomPaleTussock_tonemapped

This one was found dangling from one of our vehicles, hence why it’s on someone’s glove.

It is named for the pale tufts of hair on its back but added to its luminous green (not as bright as my trousers though…) and the red tail it really is a spectacular thing! A word of caution, do not pick one of these up with bare hands! Those hairs will cause severe irritation!

I will finish this blog with fulfilling a promise I made a while ago when we were carrying out controlled burning on an area for the benefit of Marsh Gentian. This autumn flowering plant has a deep blue flower and is relatively rare in the UK. I said that I would put a photo of one up once they started flowering. Unfortunately, I missed the boat a bit but here is a Marsh Gentian nonetheless!

TomGentian_tonemapped

It’s just not that blue anymore…

Happy Autumn!

Tom Simon.

Dragons and Damsels 3

Ashdown Forest is undeniably special (it represents 3% of the remaining heathland in the UK) but it is also quite unusual. For a start, in terms of ‘lowland’ heathland, it’s actually quite high up. There is an arbitrary cut-off point in ecology between lowland heath and moorland, the huge expanses of upland heather managed for grouse shooting. The cut-off is 200m above sea level; the highest point on the Forest is 229m. This means that, compared to the ‘classic’ lowland heaths of places like Purbeck and the Lizard, Ashdown Forest is quite cool and experiences relatively high rainfall.

Some of that 'relatively high rainfall'

Some of that ‘relatively high rainfall’

The other unusual feature is the soils. Heaths are characterised by generally free-draining, acidic, sandy soils. The Forest soils are indeed acidic and sandy, but the particle size of the Ashdown sands is very small, closer to silt. This means that drainage is often poor and, combined with the heavy rainfall, much of the Forest is very wet.

Which is a good thing, as long as you have wellies. Wet flushes, ghyll woodland, valley mires and boggy pools all provide additional habitats for a host species that wouldn’t otherwise be so abundant on the Forest. One group that does particularly well is the Odonata, or dragonflies. I have blogged before about our Small red damselfly, but there are plenty more species to look out for on the Forest.

Perhaps the most impressive – if relatively widespread – species is the Emperor dragonfly, the largest (though not the longest) species found in the UK.

Emperor dragonfly

Emperor dragonfly

Prize for the longest species goes to the female Golden-ringed dragonfly, a scarce species found across the High Weald but reaching its greatest abundance on the Forest.

Golden-ringed dragonfly

Golden-ringed dragonfly

A real Forest speciality is the Keeled skimmer, found nowhere else in the county. The male is an attractive chalky blue, similar to the much commoner Broad-bodied chaser.

Keeled skimmer

Keeled skimmer

Similar again is the Four-spotted chaser, though both the male and female are brown. The distinguishing feature is the presence of dark spots on all four wings.

Four-spotted chaser

Four-spotted chaser

The damselflies, smaller cousins of the dragons, are well represented on the Forest too. I have already blogged about the Large red and rarer Small red; the blues are abundant everywhere, but perhaps my favourite of all is the exquisite Emerald damselfly. If Faberge had made an insect, it would look like this.

Emerald damselfly

Emerald damselfly

Steve Alton

Where wheelbarrows float (trust me, I know what I’m doing!)

Okay, so this week we Countryside Workers have been attempting to remove a very invasive plant that is growing in the lower of Ellison’s Ponds.

Parrots Feather (Myriophyllum aquaticum) is a pond plant that can dominate areas of water, so much that it can form almost a mat across the surface of the water. When we first started, this was the extent of the Parrot’s Feather:

Ellison's Pond, before

Ellison’s Pond, before

The original plan was to use buckets to carry the pulled plant out and then leave it by the side of the pond to rot down and let any pond life that we may have inadvertently removed make its way back into the water. I then noticed the wheelbarrow we had brought with us and thought ‘that looks like a boat’. We found that not only did it float, but in some places the bank was sloped enough so we could just push the barrow out again!

TomWheelbarrow_tonemapped

There was a knack to it though, as you had to load at the front to start with to counter act the buoyancy of the wheel, but we found that it worked much better than awkwardly double handling the pulled plant.

We are quite used to people coming up and asking us what we are up to and passing comment when we have our mid-morning tea break or lunch, and the funny thing is that I felt disappointed how few people seemed curious at the sight of two wheelbarrows floating in a pond and being very effective.

Anyway, our first day of pond life was interrupted by a call to help find a sheep that had been attacked by a dog. This has been mentioned on the Facebook page and when we found the sheep it was a harrowing sight. We do need to thank the riding group who knew where the sheep was and led us to it. Those of us involved in that incident did feel affected by it and we had a reflective lunch next to Airman’s Grave and the low cloud added to that atmosphere.

TomAirmansGrave

The Airman’s Grave

Later that day though, a bit of lighter relief happened when a couple of horse riders came past Ellison’s Pond and asked what we were doing, got chatting and told us that the previous weekend a Kingfisher had been seen here but that they hadn’t seen one for 20 years.
With perfect timing, they then rode off, got round the corner and a little blue flash shot past and up the ride they had just come from! The Kingfisher was gone but I got out of the pond as fast as one can in waders and even though they were closer to the top of Camp Hill I shouted after them that the Kingfisher was there and I heard a very distant ‘OH NO!’.

It wasn’t the last time we saw that Kingfisher. Late on Wednesday afternoon, Ash was emptying his barrow and apparently the bird flew about 4ft in front of his nose and arched up towards the upper pond. We rushed round and quickly found the bird perching under the large Silver Birch that grows out of the bank.

TomKingfisher_tonemapped

It was there long enough that I could take this not very clear digiscoped picture but at least you can see the blue streak down its back. It was also there long enough that we could show some passersby, when the bird dived for a fish and then perched on a gorse bush right out in the open.

Wildlife that we were perhaps expecting more to find was Raft Spiders. What we weren’t expecting to find were quite so many of them. This is the largest and most brightly coloured individual that we found but there were many more, smaller ones all over the place.

TomRaftSpider
We did find a few odd things in the middle of the pond on the Parrots Feather, including this Buff-tip Moth caterpillar. How it got out there is a bit of mystery!

TomBuffTip_tonemapped

This is what the pond looks like at the moment but we know that we haven’t got all of the Parrots Feather, as there are many roots still in the silt and further removal will be required. But it was all worth it to show just how amphibious the wheelbarrow can be!

Ellison's Pond, after

Ellison’s Pond, after

 

Tom Simon

Countryside Worker

An Audience with the Emperor

As Tom mentioned in his previous post, we recently had a very regal visitor to the Visitor Centre. I had been told by one of our Rangers that a Purple Emperor butterfly had been seen around the Centre, and that this wasn’t uncommon. As I had always wanted to see this species, I was thrown into a state of high alert and made it my mission to track one down. Tom and I even placed ‘decoy Emperors’, cut out of paper, around the place in the hope of luring one in. With no success.

Then, one tea break, I wandered into the mess room and was told by our Caretaker, John, that there was a ‘big black butterfly’ in the Education Barn. Pausing only to mop up my spilled coffee and grab a camera, I rushed over and there, as reported, was a big, black butterfly sitting on the glass of the Barn entrance. I clicked off a few photos, but really I wanted a shot of it somewhere a little more natural. Aided by Office Administrator Tracy and an old plum stone, his majesty was coaxed off the window and on to Tracy’s hand, where he posed for several more photos. He was then carried reverently outside and placed on an oak leaf.

Tracy lends a hand

Tracy lends a hand

Unperturbed by all this irreverent treatment, he continued to pose for several minutes, whilst members of staff and visitors filed past to pay their respects.

IMG_5672_tonemapped

So why all the fuss? I’m not alone in being captivated by this particular butterfly; whole books and websites have been devoted to the Purple Emperor. It is neither the biggest nor the rarest native butterfly but it has a kind of mystique about it. Some of this is due to its elusive habits; the adults frequent the highest branches of, usually, oak trees, only coming down to the ground to drink or suck minerals from, of all things, animal droppings. There have been stories of particular ‘master’ trees where the males congregate in large numbers, though this seems to be a myth. And then there is the colour.

Both sexes appear similar from a distance; a dark brown upper surface to the wings relieved by white flashes. But when the light catches the male at the right angle, the reason for the common name becomes apparent; a glorious iridescent sheen unlike the colouring of any other native species.

IMG_5607_tonemapped

I was lucky enough to see Emperors twice more over the summer, but nothing can compare with that special, first close encounter.

Steve Alton

Conservation Officer

Jacobaea of all trades

While people back at the Forest Centre have been enjoying Purple Emperors (not that I’m jealous in the slightest!), myself, Ashley and Katy (a work experience student with us for 4 weeks) have been controlling the spread of Ragwort over the Forest.

As things stand, we have visited every car park on the Forest and tried to remove as many plants as we can from the roadside. There may be stands of Ragwort on rides which we have not got to yet but hopefully we will in due course.

Most of the Ragwort we are pulling up is Common Ragwort, which can grow to about a metre and has yellow flowers. Common Ragwort (Jacobaea vulgaris) has the potential to spread over disturbed or poached soil and can become dominant. It is not a plant that has been introduced the British Isles and Ragwort and Groundsels are members of the Daisy family.

TomRagwort1_tonemapped

Common ragwort

Common Ragwort contains toxins (pyrrolizidine alkaloids), which, if ingested in large enough quantities (it varies from animal to animal), can damage and, in some cases, fatally damage an animal’s liver.

Ragworts are an important food source for insects and for some species, most famously the Cinnabar Moth (Tyria jacobaeae), it is their main food plant. Cinnabar Moth caterpillars are black and yellow striped with little hairs and touching them can cause a rash. The caterpillars store the toxins ingested from the Ragwort in their bodies.

Because of the Ragwort’s close association with insects such as this we are leaving some Ragwort for them.

TomRagworms1_tonemapped

Cinnabar moth caterpillars

It is worth knowing what is not Ragwort, as there are plants that we have left that do look similar.

The first one, which looks most similar in my opinion, is Perforate St. Johns Wort (Hypericum perforatum). This is a fairly common plant on the Forest and can look very similar to Ragwort but the stamens on the flower protrude a lot further and only have 5 petals, whereas Ragworts have many more!

TomHypericum

Perforate St John’s-wort

Also similar is Common Fleabane (Pulicaria dysenterica), which just to be terribly unscientific, looks like little sunflowers on stalks. Common Fleabane also has a lighter green stem and leaves than Ragworts.

TomFleabane

Fleabane

Common Groundsel, which is also in the Daisy family, has deeply serrated and hairy leaves. This is possibly the most Ragwort-like looking plant of the lot and can also be a food plant of the Cinnabar Moth. I haven’t knowingly found any on the Forest yet but if I do I’ll take a photo of it!

Another plant to that looks similar is this, Goldenrod! This grows about the same height as Ragwort but has pointed leaves and narrow, drooping flower heads.

TomGoldenrod

Canadian goldenrod

Finally, we have something that can look surprisingly like ragwort from a distance: dead Bracken!

TomBracken2

That’s all the yellow flowering plants I can cope with for now!

Should have some good insects for the blog!

Your friendly Countryside Worker,

Tom.

Our hay day

On Friday we made hay, while the sun shone. It was our first time making our own hay, having rented a series of fields not far from the visitor centre, and a couple of agricultural buildings for storage. It’s a rather stressful business, being – like so many agricultural activities – highly dependent on the weather. The hay was cut on the previous Monday, and needed at least four days without rain in order to dry sufficiently. Against all the odds (this is England in July, after all, and Wimbledon season) the rain held off, and on the fifth day we did bale.

IMG_5174_tonemapped

The trick then is to get all the bales into storage before it rains, and we were looking at potentially 3000 bales. Thanks to some marvellous organisation by Caroline, our Grazing Officer, we had a brilliant turn-out of staff and volunteers, who set about the task of manhandling the bales into the two storage sheds as they arrived from the fields.

Caroline in the director's chair, attended by stalwart volunteer Philip

Caroline in the director’s chair, attended by stalwart volunteer Philip

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It was desperately unpleasant work, on what turned out to be the hottest day of the year so far. It made me think of a scene from one of my favourite books, T H White’s ‘The Once and Future King‘ (if you haven’t read it, give it a go, and don’t be put off by Disney’s interpretation of the first part, The Sword in the Stone). White describes medieval hay making on a similarly hot July day, and this passage in particular sprang to mind:

“For the hay was an element to them, like sea or air, in which they bathed and plunged themselves and which they even breathed in. The seeds and small scraps stuck in their hair, their mouths, their nostrils, and worked, tickling, inside their clothes.”

IMG_5181_tonemapped

Out in the fields, our contractors carried out the baling, and the bales were loaded onto trailers to be transported back to the yard. Here, they were off-loaded (thrown, actually – fortunately bales are pretty tough) and carried by hand into the buildings, where someone would stack them, climbing around on the pile as it grew towards the rafters. I had a few sessions as stacker, and again was reminded of T H White:

“Sir Ector scrambled about on top, getting in the way of his assistants, who did the real work, and stamping and perspiring and scratching about with his fork and trying to make the rick grow straight and shouting that it would all fall down as soon as the west winds came.”

IMG_5167_tonemapped

Another trailer-load arrives. Elegantly done, Mike…

Obviously the wind wouldn’t be an issue, but there was certainly plenty of perspiring. The temperature inside the buildings soared as the day went on, and the air was thick with hay dust. Those outside didn’t have a much better time as the sun continued to beat down. Volunteers came and went throughout the day, but we always had sufficient hands to keep up the pace, aided by on-site catering (thanks to Pat and Ros).

Scary tales had circulated earlier in the day of baling carrying on until midnight, but luckily we made good progress and the final ‘half-crown’ bale was added to the big stack in the cow barn at around half-past eight. And then, right on cue, it started to rain.

IMG_5208_tonemapped

Moving so quickly they are a blur, our staff and volunteers finish the final stack

All in all, a very successful exercise, and our sincere thanks go out to all the staff, contractors and volunteers who made it possible, including the Conservation Volunteers who had the unpleasant task of clearing out the sheds in the first place.

This is a major step forward for our grazing programme, and will hopefully be the first of many fruitful hay days.

Steve Alton

Conservation Officer

Dragons and Damsels 2

Regular readers may recall that in an earlier post I was keen to find the heathland-specialist Small red damselfly, but had to make do with its larger cousin. Well, thanks to the extremely knowledgeable Graeme Lyons from the Sussex Wildlife Trust, I have now added the Small red to my list. Here it is – not the best photo in the world, but good enough for a positive ID.

IMG_4655_tonemappedNow that I’ve seen one, the differences between it and the Large red damselfly are very clear; reddish legs, no markings on the abdomen, and overall a much smaller, more delicate creature.

Just as a reminder, here’s the Large red again:

IMG_3584_tonemapped

Black legs, red eyes and black markings on the abdomen. And larger, as the name suggests. The only slight disappointment for me was that I didn’t see the Small red on ‘our’ Forest, but on the Sussex Wildlife Trust’s excellent Old Lodge nature reserve next door. But it’s only a line on a map, after all.