THIS IS FINDON VILLAGE these Chronicles are created by Valerie Martin and contain scenes from her home village of Findon, West Sussex, U.K.
Everyday tales about real people...... in fact, a potted history of the village.

ROUND-HEADED RAMPION OF CISSBURY RING

Copyright Valerie Martin 2004

In July 2004 I was delighted to hear from my late friend, Sid in Findon Valley.   We often met up on Cissbury Ring..... and occasionally on Thursdays in Sainsbury's supermarket.    (Sid died on 19th December 2006).

 

16th July 2004

Hi Valerie

Round Headed Rampion

Attached is a photo of a Round-Headed Rampion wild flower which I took a few days ago.

One of our dog walking friends discovered a few growing in a field below Cissbury Ring.

I was told that it is the county wild flower of Sussex and is quite rare.

As the flowers are growing in our "patch" I thought you might be interested.

This year the wild orchids growing in the same field have been quite prolific.

Sid

Sidney Oakes, Findon Valley, West Sussex.
 

What a wonderful little find.   I think this is a perennial of the chalky Findon Downs so hopefully we will see lots more of it in the years to come between June and August when it flowers.   The local name for this is Pride of Sussex (or should I say "Findon").

Our chalky Downs were once quite famed for these blue flowers and before the Second World War it was very abundant.   Since then the Downs have been ploughed and the soil treated with fertilser.   Also there are fewer flocks kept on the hillside and the lack of grazing has meant that more scrub and coarse grass has encroached and wiped out many of our natural flowers.    When the land was grazed, the Round-Headed Rampion just grew a little shorter..... the munching didn't seem to affect it flowering!

 

18th July 2004

Dear Valerie,

Pride of Sussesx

What beautiful pictures of the Pride of Sussex!!   Although they look familiar to me, I couldn't swear that they were to be found commonly 50 - 60 years ago around Findon.  I was not all that interested in flowers in those days.

Now if they were edible like the wild strawberries, blackberries or mushrooms, I could be much more certain!   We would make specific trips over the downs and fields to collect these to help eke out the rations and produce unusual treats.   If they were butterflies I could also help because collecting these was a hobby that many of us enjoyed.

Any news of how the Gurkhas got on?

Thanks for all your hard work which so many of us enjoy.

Mike.

Mike Cooksey, Bristol.

 

 

 

 

The following day I set off armed with camera to see these delightful flowers for myself...... (guided by Sid who had thoughtfully tied a red ribbon to a nearby bush to guide me).    Thunder was rumbling overhead but the expedition was successful and no one got wet.  This is the result for you all to see.

 

 

Katie says "Oooh, you are clever".   
Her sister says "I can't see what all the fuss is about".

In the palm of my hand.... (the paler blue flowers are scabious).

 

Peter Archbold (all the way from New Zealand says "How nice that it has been seen "on your patch".

 

Within a few feet were four Burnet Moths on a thistle, accompanied by a Meadow Brown Butterfly.

 

 

I scoured the area the following afternoon...... and found another tiny clutch of the precious blue flowers!   

So I guess there must be more hidden behind bushes and crevices on the Ring. 

 

 

Update for the summer of 2006.   Some photographs of my latest finds at the Lychpole dew-pond area...

A family group of Round Headed Rampion caught on camera.

Continue if you would like to read about The Cissbury Adders.

 

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This is Findon Village www.findonvillage.com is a continually growing record created by Valerie Martin exclusively for documenting life in Findon.

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Do let me know of anything you hear about Findon - not too controversial.   Please note that opinions expressed in the Findon Chronicles are not necessarily reflective of my own thoughts.... but just sometimes they might be!