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Summary: Area is a narrow triangle, above the A13. It has original Thames Terraces sandy soil, never been much disturbed. It is mostly open ground, with scrub Birch encroaching. On the cutting bank of the A13 is a geological exposure that is a SSSI. However, this does not protect the field on top.
Description: This low-nutrient sandy soil, well-drained and with lots of sunshine, means it is suitable for many plant rarities, especially, but by no means only, in the pea family. Main habitat is open ground with very short vegetation and some disturbance. There used to be lots of disturbance by illegal bikers and burnt-out cars, but these have decreased with extra vigilance. Although strictly a 'brown field' site, the previous use was as part of a sports field. It can be accessed from the S end of Love Lane and heading NW across open rough land, or from Purfleet Road, and heading S in a space between houses, until the woodland area is passed. Directly across the A13 is a larger area (ie larger site cut by A13) that is also mainly open land with carpets of Trifolium glomeratum.
Reason for interest: A stunning collection of plants, nearly all tiny, that represent the typical flora of the sandy soil of the area, are abundant here. Some of the plants are nationally rare, many are rare or scarce in South Essex as most virgin areas have been excavated for their minerals and then used for landfill.
Comment: List of plants can be obtained on request from Mary Smith, but the highlights are Trifolium glomeratum, T. subterraneum, T. striatum, Medicago polymorpha, Vicia lathyroides, Ornithopus perpusillus, Myosotis discolor, Cerastium semidecandrum, Aphanes australis, Aira caryophyllea and A. praecox, among other things. Rumex pulcher grows nearby, a little to the N. Across the A13 is another area, originally the same stretch of land, that is very similar but has been somewhat degraded. The huge numbers of plants of Trifolium glomeratum make this area good too. also one plant of Orchis morio was found near here.
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