As part of the management planning process, I have been wandering around the Pett Level Preservation Trust’s land in search of scarce plants, and beginning to compile a plant list for the site.
The best areas have proved to be those that escape sheep grazing, notably the short stretch of boundary ditch to the northwest of Toot Rock [heavily sheep grazed but supporting some Wall Pennywort], the Military Canal, and the Old Tennis Court.
The boundary ditch has been recently cleaned, with the side opposite the PLPT land having been scraped and the PLPT side left alone; this “early successional stage” ditch is often interesting. I haven’t found any rarities, but a good selection of water plants included Unbranched Bur-reed, Broad Leaved Pondweed, Water Figwort and a few plants of Tubular Water Dropwort Oenanthe fistulosa. The latter is a UK Biodiversity action plan species, though not uncommon in our area. Less welcome are a few plants of the invasive non-native Indian Balsam.
Of greater interest, but something I can’t claim to have found, as it has long been known from this site, is the stand of the localised Corky-fruited Water Dropwort Oenanthe pimpinelloides , which grows between the road and canal at the western extremity of the Trust’s land.
The canal itself holds further water plants: Great Water Dock, the attractive Arrowhead, White Water Lily [of suspect origin !] , while the lush vegetation bordering it includes both Yellow & Purple Loosestrifes, as well as lots of another Water Dropwort, the common Hemlock Water Dropwort Oenanthe crocata.