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  • Writer's pictureSim Elliott

Nap Wood; a High Weald Ghyll Wood, East Sussex. Trees, Fungi, Bryophytes & Lichen. 31.07.23

A wonderful opportunity to walk along an ancient sunken drovers pathway through woodland. The one mile circuitous route takes the walker through zones of pines, birches, coppiced chestnut and beech, with numerous large oak and yew specimens. Nap Wood - Woodland Trust

Reaching Nap Wood by pubic transport is easy. I took the 29 bus from Brighton to Tunbridge Wells (1hr 50 min journey time; 1 or 2 busses an hour, depending on day and time). Regency 29 - Brighton-Tunbridge Wells and Heathfield | Brighton & Hove Buses From Tunbridge Wells I took the 51 bus Nap Wood, between Frant and Mark Cross (15 minute journey time, 2 buses an hour) 51 - Eastbourne - Heathfield - Tunbridge Wells – Stagecoach South East – There isn't an official bus stop outside Nap Wood but the driver will set you down there if you ask.

A drover's pathway

The bank of a drover's pathway; covered in mosses and liverworts

Dead tree trunk covered in moss and lichen

Lichen in Yew, Taxus bucata

Probably Diploicia canescens

Heath Star Moss, Campylopus introflexus on the wood floor

Scleroderma citrinum fungus (Common Earthvall) pushing through a mat of moss including Campylopus introflexus.

Bank Haircap Moss, Polytichum formosum

Wood-Bristle Moss, Lewinskya affinis, Black Stone Flower, Parmotrema perlatum & Farinose Cartilage Lichen, Ramalina farinacea on an oak branch

Oakmoss Lichen, Evernia Prunastri

Water Earwort, Scapania undulata, in a ghyll

Water Earwort is a characteristic liverwort of Atlantic woodlands of the west of the UK, but it also in the oceanic microclimates of the ghyll woodlands of the High Weald

A dead beech with Ganoderma applanatum. a widely distributed white rot fungus found on living and dead trees. It produces a perennial conk or fruiting structure. The freshly formed hymenium is easily discolored and artists often create elaborate drawings on the surface leading to is also being called the Artist’s Conk [in UK Artist's Bracket]. Ganoderma applanatum - an overview | ScienceDirect Topics

Yew, Taxus baccata

Slender Rush, Juncus tenuis A winter-green, densely tufted perennial herb found on damp open ground on or by roads, tracks and paths, especially along tracks in woodlands Juncus tenuis Willd. in BSBI Online Plant Atlas 2020

Rowan, Sorbus aucuparia) Bane of witches, diviner of the future and producer of jam, rowan is an elegant tree with a mystical history. Its leaves and berries are a favourite for wildlife in woods. Rowan (Sorbus aucuparia) - British Trees - Woodland Trust

Probably Tawny Grisette, Amanita fulva

Engraved Wooden Plaque of vegetation

Hard Fern, Blechnum spicant

Hard fern is dimorphic, which means it has two types of frond – sterile and fertile. The sterile foliage has long, flat, leathery, dark green fronds with slightly wavy edges. They arch outwards, almost parallel to the ground, and can grow up to 30cm. The fertile fronds are longer, narrower and upright. They grow in the centre of the plant with their leaflets spaced further apart from each other, and the outer edges rolled inwards on the undersides. Hard Fern (Blechnum spicant) - British Plants - Woodland Trust

Another drovers pathway through the wood

A Yew with lichen on its bark, possibly Lepraria incana


A Pertusaria sp. lichen

Forked Veilwort, Metzgeria furcata,

Barnacle Lichen,Thelotrema lepadinum. Looking like little barnacles growing on tree trunks, barnacle lichen is found mainly on the bark of living trees in ancient woods, and it is indicative of longstanding woodland conditions. Barnacle Lichen (Thelotrema lepadinum) - Woodland Trust

Bank showing the lush mixture of liverworts, mosses and ferns typical of High Weald ghyll woods

The Ghyll

Remote Sedge, Carex remota, beside the ghyll A tufted perennial sedge of damp, usually bare neutral or acidic soil in woodland and woodland rides, often growing in considerable shade. It can become dominant in favoured habitats, such as in woods that are seasonally flooded. Carex remota L. in BSBI Online Plant Atlas 2020

A Brittlegill, Russula sp., fungus

Probably Tawny Grisette. Amantia fulva

Common Earthball, Scleradoma critium; these were abundant in Nap Wood

Saxonbury Tower; Eridge Park

Directly across the A267 from Nap Wood is Saxonbury Hill part of the Eridge Park estate; in it is a folly - the Saxonbury Tower. This part of the estate has limited public access

FRANT ERIDGE PARK,ERIDGE TQ 53 SE 995-/14/10012 Saxonbury Tower II Observation tower or folly. Dated 1828 over doorcase. One of a series of follies built for the Nevill estate. Circular tower of 5 stages, tapering to top. Built of brown header bond brickwork on tooled sandstone base with Roman cement pseudo-machicolations to parapet and roll-moulded bands between floors. Conical iron roof reputed to have been covered in copper at one time. Arrowslit windows with splayed embrasure internally. Cambered arched doorcase with date 1828 in shields on either side and central coronet with initials H and A. SAXONBURY TOWER, Rotherfield - 1252623 | Historic England



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