Grasses, Sedges and Rushes at Staveley Nature Reserve, Friday 6 July 2018

Leader – Kevin Walker

This was Kevin Walker’s identification workshop day at Staveley Nature Reserve, teaching us about grasses, sedges and rushes. These are topics which I had previously managed to avoid, by using the lame excuse that my botany book did not include grasses. But knowing that such an opportunity should not be missed, I somewhat nervously put my name down for the event, along with eleven other HDNS members.

We assembled first at the Paddocks, right next to Staveley reserve. Before we set off, Kevin produced an excellent selection of useful ID guides to help us on our ID way.

Grasses from Orchard Field (Bob Evison, 2014)

Grasses from Orchard Field (Bob Evison, 2014)

We began our foray in the orchard of the reserve where an astonishing array of meadow grasses were to be found. Although it was suggested that we should try and use the Latin names, it is difficult when the English names are so attractive – Sweet Vernal Grass, Meadow Foxtail and Golden Oat Grass all sound so Summery!

Kevin demonstrating marsh flora (Nick Gaunt)

Kevin demonstrating marsh flora (Nick Gaunt)

We then progressed into the wetter(?) areas, walking through to Upper Marsh, to find rushes and sedges, which were plentiful despite the very dry weather.

Marsh Helleborine (Epipactis palustris) (Nick Gaunt)

Marsh Helleborine (Epipactis palustris) (Nick Gaunt)

Of course a visit to Staveley would not be complete without including some orchids, so following on from grasses, sedges and rushes we then went in search of marsh and dune helleborines, and even spotted one bee orchid. On the way back Kevin fitted in a session on willow identification, and then finally a few very keen members found time for a spot of birdwatching on the East Lagoon.

A wonderful day in a wonderful location. Thanks to those members who took part and to Kevin for sharing some of his extensive knowledge and for his patience in dealing with our questions. I am sure we are all looking forward to his next trip at Skrikes Wood which will also include ferns.

Sonia Starbuck

Grasses list Staveley 8/7/2018


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