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  • Writer's pictureSim Elliott

Park Corner Heath/Roland Wood & Lewes Railway Land NRs. The hottest UK day on record. 19.07.22

On what was predicted to be the hottest day on reduced, and was, I decided to visit two reserves that were mostly woodland so that I could stay in the shade.

To get to Rowland Wood I took the 29 bus from Brighton to Uckfield 29 - Brighton-Tunbridge Wells | Brighton & Hove Buses and then the 44 bus from Uckfield to East Hoathly 54 Bus Route & Timetable: Uckfield - Eastbourne | Stagecoach ( To get to Rowland Wood it is necessary to walk along the busy A22; there is no pavement, so you have to walk on the verge, or in places in the road. Take great care. The nearest bus stop is Blackberry Farm, the stop after East Hoathly (direction Eastbourne) but it is not an official stop and you have to request it. The turning to Rowland Wood is reached by walking up the A22 toward East Hoathly and turning left, see: Grid Reference Finder

Rowland Wood and Park Corner Heath

I first visited Park Corner Heath and Rowland Wood, a Blurredly Conservation Sussex Nature Reserve, see; Butterfly Conservation - Sussex Branch (

Butterfly Conversation Sussex predicts that these species can be seen in July: Small/Essex Skipper started, Large White started, Purple Hairstreak, Common Blue second brood started, White Admiral season, Silver-washed Fritillary peaked, Marbled White peaked, Gatekeeper peaked, Meadow Brown peaked, Small Heath second brood, Ringlet peaked.

I saw: Small Skippers, Small Whites, Marbled Whites, Gatekeepers, Meadow Browns, Ringlets and Comma; but only in small numbers; I wondered whether the very hot weather made the butterflies stay hidden in shade; under the leaves of plants.

A small frog by the entrance. When I put my rucksack on the ground to get my camera out of it, he/she was right next to where I put my rucksack,

Meadow Brown on Bramble

Gatekeeper on Ragwort


Male Emperor Dragonfly

Small Tortoiseshell on Fleabane

Small Skipper

Meadow Brown

Female White-Legged Damselfly



There were many Common Blue Damselflies on the large pond

Common Blue Damselflies; probably

Spotted Flycatcher

Common Blue Damselfly

Common Blue Damselfly

Brimstone on Creeping Thistle


Marble White



Great Tit


Small White


Comma at the bus stop at East Hoathly

I decided to stop off on the way back from Uckfield to Brighton in Lewes to visit the Lewes Railway Land Nature Reserve, as I had enjoyed my last visit there, and I knew there was wooded land where there would be shade. The reserve can be reached easily on foot from the Lewes Bus station, as the entrance is in the centre if the town on the south side of the River Ouse

Lewes Railway Land Nature Reserve

Nestling on the flood plain of the River Ouse, the reserve was once a busy railway marshalling yard that has now been reclaimed by nature. The area where the railway sidings once stood is now crammed with wildflowers which buzz with life. The reserve also boasts 4 distinct water habitats that are vital to different forms of wildlife:

  • ​Wet woodland, important for mosses and lichens.

  • Reed bed, called the Heart of Reeds, which in summer is heaving with singing reed warblers.

  • Ponds, home to newts and fish.

  • Floodplain grassland, made up of a system of ditches that are jam-packed with aquatic invertebrates.

​All of these habitats are fed by Winterbourne stream, which flows through the middle of the reserve and under giant tidal sluice gates into the River Ouse. This chalk stream is fed by water which has filtered through the surrounding Downland hills and only runs when it’s been raining. In winter the stream regularly overflows and fills these habitats with fresh water, keeping them in top condition. In the woodland once stood a large Victorian town house; the Leighside Estate. This contained formal gardens and landscaped fishponds. These are interspersed with large railway Poplars and some exotic specimens, including a fantastic Holm Oak and Swamp Cyprus.

The nature reserve is owned and managed by Lewes District Council, in close partnership with the Railway Land Wildlife Trust. The Nature Reserve | Wildlife Education In Lewes (

When I got to Lewes (on the 79 bus from ) the forecast was for 37 degrees


Speckled Wood

This bit of desiccated plant was suspended on a strand of spider silk, it appeared to be floating in the air.

This Peacock Butterfly landed on my shirt. The brief moment of regarding this as a meaningful act of animal-human communication, passed when I noticed there was blob of guacamole on my shirt where the Peacock was, which had flown out of the guacamole tub when I pulled the plastic lid off when eating my lunch (that I had just bought in Tesco). The butterfly saw (and probably smelled) the blob as a nutrient source.





Gular fluttering. The bird will open its mouth and “flutter” its neck muscles, promoting heat loss (think of it as the avian version of panting). How Birds Keep Their Cool | Audubon I have noted over the last few days many crows and magpies just sitting still with their bills wide open.



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