Rex Graham nature reserve
|Site of Special Scientific Interest|
|Location map||Magic Map|
Rex Graham Reserve is a 2.8 hectare biological Site of Special Scientific Interest east of Mildenhall in Suffolk. It is a Special Area of Conservation, and part of the Breckland Special Protection Area. It was formerly managed by the Suffolk Wildlife Trust.
The site is a disused chalk pit, surrounded by woodland, and is primarily of interest for its population of Military Orchids, as over 95% of the United Kingdom population of this species occurs at this site. Other plants found at the site include mezereon, twayblade, pyramidal orchid, ploughman's spikenard (Inula conyza), and Southern adderstongue.
The discovery of a population of Military Orchids at this site occurred in 1955. Prior to this the species had never been recorded in East Anglia, having previously been recorded only in Southeast England. The population then was at least 500 plants, with over 100 flowering spikes; by 1958 the population had reached 2,854 plants, with about 10% flowering, a population level and flowering proportion that were maintained throughout the 1960s. By 1971 however, only 252 plants were present, due to scrubbing over, as a result of the erection of the protective fence. Scrub clearance and removal of some surrounding trees allowed the population to recover, and subsequent counts include 1,115 plants in 1990 and "too many to count" (Harrap and Harrap 2005) in 2000, when 748 plants were recorded flowering.
Genetic analysis of the orchids at Rex Graham has shown that they are distinct from those at the other two English sites, and represent an independent colonisation from Europe.
- "Designated Sites View: Rex Graham Reserve". Sites of Special Scientific Interest. Natural England. Retrieved 11 June 2017.
- "Map of Rex Graham Reserve". Sites of Special Scientific Interest. Natural England. Retrieved 11 June 2017.
- "Rex Graham Reserve". Special Areas of Conservation. Joint Nature Conservation Committee. Retrieved 4 May 2017.
- "Designated Sites View: Rex Graham Reserve". Special Area of Conservation. Natural England. Retrieved 10 May 2017.
- "Designated Sites View: Breckland". Special Protection Area. Natural England. Retrieved 10 May 2017.
- "Special Protection Areas under the EC Birds Directive. Breckland" (PDF). Joint Nature Conservation Committee. Retrieved 4 May 2017.
- Archive of reserve page formerly on the Suffolk Wildlife Trust website
- Harrap, Simon and Annie Harrap (2005) Orchids of Britain and Ireland, a field and site guide ISBN 0-7136-6956-X
- JNCC page about the site's Special Area of Conservation status
- English Nature citation sheet for the site
- A page at Natural England's website containing photographs of the site