Our meeting place is the car park which is at the junction of Monkmead Lane and Nyetimber Lane, West Chiltington. The postcode is RH20 2PG and the OS map reference is TQ07861 16970.
The wood borders the West Sussex Golf Course and is crossed from NW to SE by the course of a Roman Road. It forms part of the South Downs National Park.
The River Chilt, a tributary of the River Arun, flows through the wood and floods often occur after heavy rain. The river helps to spread the seeds of the invasive Himalayan Balsam and most of the plants can be seen on its banks and the low lying ground alongside.
Each plant can produce up to 800 seeds. These are dispersed widely as the ripe seedpods shoot their seeds up to 7m (22ft) away.
The plant is spread by two principal means:
# Once established in the catchment of a river the seeds, which can remain viable for two years, are transported further afield by water.
# And, would you believe? The most widespread distribution tends to be by human means where individuals pass on seed to friends!