The primrose is an ancient woodland indicator species in the south of England. There is a clump beyond the gate and a few plants scattered in the grassy area just beyond the entrance.It will be interesting to see if this species returns next year in response to thinning of trees along the woodland ride to allow more light to penetrate.
Wood sorrel is another ancient indicator species associated with damp woods. The flower has pale lilac striped petals and trefoil leaves. It is present throughout the wood in damp areas, but is most common along the margins. Other early flowering species are both dog and early dog violet, with heart shaped leaves, ground ivy, an evergreen member of the mint family with mauve flowers, and coltsfoot, which is situated in the grassy area near the gate. This yellow dandelion like plant is typical of disturbed ground, and a distinctive feature is that the flowers appear before the hoof shaped leaves.
The most common plant is the bluebell, yet another ancient woodland indicator and very typical of weald woodlands. These flowers are just beginning to appear, by next month they will spread throughout the wood. Not yet in flower, but beginning to appear are lords and ladies, with arrow shaped leaves, and an unidentified currant. Both are growing near the old embankment along the Grouse Road boundary.
Sightings: This tawny owl was seen roosting in the wood one sunny morning. A further probable sighting occurred on a subsequent visit when a large greyish bird with shortish wings was disturbed near the quarry and flew away towards the road and disappeared.