At the beginning of September, I visited Redgrave and Lopham Fen with my friend Heather whom I hadn’t seen for over a year. It was a very muggy, clammy day so not ideal for walking any distance.
The sedge and reeds were very tall so we didn’t manage to see much open water and the pathways across the fen were quite narrow and enclosed at times. We got very hot and sticky and our feet were black with the peaty soil we walked on. However, we saw a few interesting plants and we managed to catch up with all our news!
Redgrave and Lopham Fen is situated on the border between Suffolk and Norfolk and is owned and maintained by the Suffolk Wildlife Trust. It is where the River Waveney and the Little Ouse River have their beginning. It is the largest remaining area of river valley fen in England. Its diverse habitat make it a very important site; saw sedge beds, open water, heathland, scrub and woodland can all be found here.
It is one of only three sites in the UK where the Fen Raft Spider can be found, though we didn’t manage to see it on our walk. Nineteen species of dragonfly, twenty-seven species of butterfly, twenty-six species of mammal, four species of amphibian, four species of reptile and ninety-six species of bird can be seen here. The beginning of September isn’t a great time of year to go looking for wildlife but we were pleased with what we did manage to see. It is a place I would like to return to one day.
Surprisingly for a plant so widespread, this was the first time I had seen this flower since I was a little girl.
These seedheads really do look a bit like birds feet!
Bulrush (Typha latifolia) is also known as Great Reedmace. Common Reed (Phragmites australis) stands in this country are a priority habitat because of their importance for wildlife as food and shelter.
According to legend, the Devil was so angry with this plant because it was successful at curing all sorts of ailments that he bit off part of the root. The plant may have a short root but it still has curative powers! Nicholas Culpeper says the boiled root is good for snake-bite, swollen throats, wounds and the plague.
Broad Buckler Fern has 3-times pinnate leaves. Pinnate leaves are made up of leaflets, often in pairs, attached to a central stem and often with a terminal leaflet. 2-times pinnate leaves = the leaflets have their own leaflets. 3-times pinnate leaves = the leaflets of the leaflets have leaflets! Broad Buckler Fern has a long stalk which only has leaf branches for half its length.
It took me a while to identify this plant, mainly because it is extremely variable. It has two main forms – an aquatic form, which is described and illustrated in most ID guides, and a terrestrial form, which isn’t often described and hardly ever illustrated. The plant I saw is the terrestrial form.
Heather kindly bought me a gift of two hardy cyclamen plants as our meeting was close to my birthday. I took a photo of them at the end of October where I had planted them in my garden.
Thanks for visiting!