Mar 25, 2022


Southons Field is owned by Marden Parish Council and is a popular and beautiful open space where most village events take place.  It is both a functional and biodiverse field with a variety of trees, play trail, swings, football goals, wildflower meadow and picnic benches as well as hosting the iconic village beacon. Residents young and old visit the field regularly so it is an important facility from a health and wellbeing perspective. It’s a safe haven for children to run around (only assistance dogs allowed), explore nature and play. Most of the field is mown regularly but swathes of the boundary areas remain un-mown in Spring and early Summer to allow wildflowers to flourish and to encourage wildlife. On one side, it borders a privately owned woodland area, home to foxes, hedgehogs, rabbits, bats, owls and grey squirrels. Badgers live in the adjacent woodland. The field is closed at dusk.


Southons Field was previously a mixed Orchard. Many of the sixty trees planted by the previous owners, Robin & Barbara Judd, have been documented and numbered. There are many interesting species indigenous to the Low Weald and others that give the field an interesting aspect. The Monkey Puzzle (no 32 ), Indian Bean (no 50), Redwood (nos 2, 21 & 47) and Mulberry (9) trees are beautiful but not local. Some of the trees bear fruit which feeds the birds in Winter such as Hawthorn, Rowan/Mountain Ash and Crab Apples. The Red Oaks provide acorns for squirrels and nuthatches.  Saplings were planted around the boundary in 2022 as part of the ‘Queen’s Green Canopy’.

One of the interesting tree varieties is a Chequer or Wild Service Tree (no 58) a scarce native deciduous tree with edible fruit. Although found elsewhere in the UK, one of its strongholds is in The Weald. It is a strong indicator of ancient woodlands. Marden still has a significant number that are being surveyed and recorded by Marden Wildlife members. Marden Horticultural Society members are also using their considerable expertise to germinate the seeds of this tree; this has proved challenging. They bear one of the UK’s most interesting native fruits and prior to the use of hops, they were in demand for brewing. The chequerboard was used in ancient Egypt as an indicator of a drinking house, so became one in England too, leading to the Chequers pubs in Marden and elsewhere. The tree was associated with these early inns, hence its local name. It is still used as a valued liqueur ingredient elsewhere in Europe.

There are several memorial trees in the field including a ‘Roots of Remembrance’ Alder tree in honour of those who were affected by the Covid Pandemic and a Crab Apple in memory of HRH the Duke of Edinburgh.

Boundary Hedgerow

The hedgerow bordering the private woodland includes Holly, Blackthorn and Hawthorn, and Elder, all providing valuable food for birds and a wildlife corridor between the field and the woods.

You can find another QR code with information on the Wildflower Meadow, Birds, Insect & Fungi on the bin by the Play Trail.


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