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Pierrepont Southern Marsh Orchid survey 2012

by Brian Lavers

On Saturday 16 June five members of the Pierrepont Monitoring Group completed the group’s third annual Southern Marsh Orchid survey on the Wey Meadow SSSI (site of special scientific interest) .

The same 100 metre by 50 metre area as in previous years was first marked out with the aid of tape measures, compass and surveying poles and the orchids within it then counted. To make the counting easier the area to be surveyed was further divided into quarters and each quarter then walked five abreast.

Countryside Restoration Trust volunteer Bill Young counts orchids in the Wey Meadow SSSI.

CRT volunteer Bill Young trying to remember which orchids he has counted.

Evidently an excellent year for southern marsh orchids, with a total count of 1671, all at the very peak of their flowering. The comparable figure for the 2011 count was 119, while in 2010 the total was 1868, illustrating very clearly how a prolonged dry Spring (in 2011) can have such an adverse impact on marsh orchid numbers.

Wey Meadow forms Unit 5 of the Thursley, Hankley & Frensham Commons SSSI and as such is regulated by Natural England.

A southern marsh orchid in full flower at the Countryside Restoration Trust's Pierrepont Farm.

A southern marsh orchid in full flower in the Wey Meadow SSSI.