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The Forest contains about 90 separate valley mires, which is more than in the remainder of Britain and western Europe. Base rich waters leached from higher ground find their way into the valley mires which concentrates down stream. The mires contain over 150 plant species which include two national rarities: slender cotton grass and the semi-aquatic fern, pillwort, and at least nine species now very rare in southern England: bog-sedge, great sundew, bog orchid, pale butterwort, common butterwort, bladderwort, small bladderwort, marsh gentian and marsh fern.
There are about 133 Forest ponds of varying sizes and water chemistry. The enriched ponds support important populations of amphibians, including common frogs, common toads and all three British species of newts. The ponds, stream networks and hillside flushes provide a most important suite of habits for the dragonflies.
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