This small informal group was formed in 2008 by Sharon Pilkington and Andrew Branson to encourage the recording of mosses and liverworts across the counties of Somerset, Wiltshire, Dorset and parts of Hampshire. We hold regular meetings, usually once a month, from October to May each year. Each season we aim to include meetings in most of the vice counties in the area and in as wide a range of habitats as possible. We are fortunate in that this area has some superb habitats for bryophytes, from the heaths, mires and woods of the New Forest to the hills of Exmoor and the Mendips. We have also found that there are many relatively unexplored gems in the region, including Iron Age hill forts, hidden valleys in the Quantocks and remote woodland flushes in the Blackdown Hills. The area also includes Salisbury Plain, the largest remaining tract of species-rich chalk grassland in north-west Europe.
Mosses and liverworts may be tiny plants, but with the help of a hand lens you can quickly discover their surprisingly beautiful and intricate world. Because many of these plants have very specific habitat requirements they can tell us a great deal about the places they inhabit, from ancient woodlands to newly colonised quarry workings. Learning about their natural history and how to identify them can be great fun. Come along and give it a go.