Throughout the valley the verges of lanes and tracks offer a fine display of wildflowers, from the earliest primroses to a succession of later plants: drifts of lesser celandine, cuckoo flower, red campion, vetches, buttercups, stitchworts, cow parsley and chervil, to name but a few.

Along the hedgerows, the blackthorn flowers first, forming dense white patches here and there, then the hawthorn, crisscrossing the valley with bands of white. Elderflower is followed by dogrose and honeysuckle, each with its own characteristic scent.

Besides most of these, woodland also offers its own specialities, early dog’s mercury giving way to white carpets of wood anemones, in some places followed by brilliant carpets of bluebells. The main botanical interest of the valley, however, is to be found in and beside water.

In spring and summer some of the drainage ditches are white with a dense covering of frogbit. Though common in the valley, this plant has a very restricted distribution in Britain. Another valley speciality is the rootless duckweed, which is less than 1mm across, looks like a minute green bead and is Britain’s smallest flowering plant.

The ditch and river banks are dotted in summer with patches of purple loosestrife and meadowsweet, while on water occasional patches of yellow water lilies gleam in the sunshine.

The marsh mallow flowers in late summer. Nationally scarce, it is now found in only a few coastal grazing marsh locations, including some parts of the valley,.where habitat improvements should encourage it to spread more widely. Its roots used to be boiled into a gelatinous confectionery, giving rise to the well-known modern sweet. It is the food plant of the rare marsh mallow moth, which has been found at only two sites in Britain, one of these being in the adjacent Rye Bay SSSI. It is hoped that further surveys may reveal this moth’s presence in the Brede Valley too.

For a complete list of higher plants recorded in the valley, and part of the Udimore ridge, by Sussex Wildlife Trust in 1993 please see our pdf download – Sussex Wildlife Trust Plant List.

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