top of page
  • Writer's pictureSim Elliott

Markstakes Common & Chailey Commons. Tress, Fungi, Bryophytes, Lichen and Slime Molds. 06.12.22

I visited Markstakes Common, South Chailey (a Woodland Trust site) (not one of the 5 Chailey Commons) for the first time on 06.11.22, I don't think it is that well known (well not to me). It is stunningly beautiful. Broad-leafed Woodland and Lowland Heath. You can reach it via Kiln Wood, just a little way from the bus stop at South Chailey. I went by 121 Compass Bus from Lewes (only goes every two hours); see 121.pdf ( - I am not sure that tis timetable is correct. I got to Lewes from Brighton on a 28 bus 28 - Brighton-Tunbridge Wells | Brighton & Hove Buses

Markstakes Common is an area of common land made up of woodland and open areas north of South Chailey. The woodland is composed of oak, hornbeam, beech and ash and there are bluebells, wood anenomes and a wealth of other wildlife. The entrance gate off Markstakes Lane and most of the paths are accessible to wheelchairs and buggies. Markstakes Common - Woodland Trust Because the wood is on lower weald clay, the ground becomes very muddy and sticky in wet weather, on Monday the path would definitely not have been accessible to wheelchairs and buggies.

I got to Markstkes Common by walking through Kiln Wood, very close to the South Chailey bus stop, Kiln Wood; next to Kiln Woods is a clay pit (for brick making, still active)

Kiln Wood

Possibly Fresh Dead Man's Fingers, Xylaria polymorpha

Clustered Feathermoss, Rhynchostegium confertum

Probably Yellow Porecrust, Antrodia xantha

A log with fungi and slime mold

Ceratiomyxa fruticulosa (slime mold);

A Peziza sp fungus

A fresh Magpie Inkcap, Coprinopsis picacea

Candlesnuff fungus, Xylaria hypoxylon and Slender beaked Moss, Kindbergia praelonga

Black Stone Flower lichen, Parmotrema perlatum.



Possibly Milking Bonnet, Mycena galopus

Hairy Curtain Crust, Stereum hirsutum

Possibly Milking Bonnet, Mycena galopus

Hairy Curtain Crust, Stereum hirsutum

Mycena picta, Cryptic Bonnet

Oak Pin, Cudoniella acicularis

Glistening Inkcap, Coprinellus micaceus

Turkey Tail, Trametes versicolor;

Sulpher Tuffs, Hypholoma fasciculare

Wood decomposers. The hollow created by the displaced root system of a blown-down tree, makes an ideal location for a host of Sulphur Tuft, Hypholoma fasciculare, fruiting bodies. Sulphur Tuft fungi ... are gregarious and tend to appear in large groups so tightly packed that the caps are unable to expand regularly. " ... "Displays of Sulphur Tufts can recur on large stumps for two or three years in succession before the timber is reduced to its hard core of lignin, at which point other lignin-eating fungi move in to finish it off. Hypholoma fasciculare, Sulphur Tuft mushroom ( These are not lots of organisms; they are fruiting bodies of a mycelium of this Hypholoma fasciculare whose hyphae are decomposing the wood in the tree.

Orthotrichum sp Moss;

Walking from Marstakes to North Chailey I saw this log, with fungi and possibly slime mold

Orange/white: a Corticiaceae family (crust forming) fungus

orange fungi: possibly, Nectria cinnabarina, Coral Spot

Chailey St Peter's Church gate

Ancient Yew in St Peter's Churchyard

Chailey Commons Nature Reserves

Chailey Common was recorded in the Domesday Book of 1086 and was used over a long period of time for grazing livestock and cutting wood and bracken for fuel. The area belonged to the manor of Balneath, once part of the estates of St Pancras’ Priory, Lewes. The manor was granted to Thomas Cromwell at the Dissolution in 1537, and then passed to Anne of Cleves and subsequently Sir William Goring, with whose descendants it remained until c.1900.

Common Nature Reserve is one of the largest areas of open heathland left in Sussex. It was designated an SSSI in 1954 and, with the help of the Chailey Commons Society, an LNR in 1966. The Common consists of 450 acres of lowland heath, split into sections by a network of roads. Parts of the Common are further divided by tracks giving access to private property, and it is bordered by farmland, private property and Chailey Heritage. The heath is a mix of bracken, grasses and heather communities, birch and European and dwarf gorse. Chailey Common escaped the 18th Century Enclosure Acts and due to its common land status has remained undeveloped and unimproved. Years of grazing and cutting bracken by commoners resulted in an open lowland heath habitat. During both World Wars, Chailey Common was used for tank training and military manoeuvres. This has left many landscape features, some of which have become important micro-habitats in themselves, as well as being of historical significance. Chailey Commons

Laccaria proxima, Scurfy Deceiver fungus and Campylopus introflexus, Heath Star Moss.

Glistening Inkcap, Coprinellus Micaceus

Sheathed Woodtuft, Kuehneromyces mutabilis

Frick Wood

Birch Polypore, Fomitopsis betulina

Candlesnuff, Xylaria hypoxylon

Near Feathermoss, Pseudoscleropodium purum

Black fungi: possibly Mycena pseudocorticola

White fungi: Cudoniella acicularis, Oak Pin

Common Greenshield lichen, Flavoparmelia caperata

Glistening Inkcap, Coprinelllus micaceus

Common Orange Lichen, Xanthoria parietina



bottom of page