On Markstakes Common, not far from Plumpton, I found a rare moss this summer: the Strict Haircap, (Polytrichum strictum). It is only the second record of this moss in Sussex for about 30 years. The first was in March on the Ashdown Forest, where I saw it while with a group of fellow moss lovers on a recording trip. Having seen it once then I obviously had the search image lodged in my brain – otherwise I am not sure I would have noticed it among the other similar-looking mosses that carpeted the ground in the glade where I was on my hands and knees weeding out
birch seedlings. It was a very surprising place to find it – a new glade we
cleared of birch and bracken about four years ago and is now regenerating with heather and a mix of other lovely heathland species. But it is a very different place from the very wet bog where I saw it on Ashdown Forest. The record has been verified and is now on the national database. I know that not many people get as excited as I do about mosses and liverworts but thought you would like to know about this discovery given that it is so near our village and probably the result of the conservation work we are doing on the Common. Despite etxensive searches we have found only the one little patch.
If anyone is interested in joining in our Monday morning tasks then please contact us. We do a variety of things: making new glades to enhance the Common for butterflies etc; maintaining them by hand weeding or scything; carrying out surveys