Saturday 19th February 2022 – Salisbury Plain, South Wiltshire

The eastern part of Salisbury Plain is rich in bryophytes and the group has visited it before. This time we will look at a slightly different area, to the north of Sidbury Hill. An intimate mixture of disturbed flinty ground, bare chalk and rich chalk grassland occurs here and we should find Abietinella abietina var. hystricosa, Pottiopsis caespitosa, Tortula lanceola and Lophozia perssonii. If we’re lucky we could also see Seligeria calcarea and Aloina rigida. This area also has one of Wiltshire’s last remaining fragments of Scapanietum asperae (southern hepatic mat).

Because of potential military training in the area, the meeting place will be confirmed to attendees in early February.

Leader: Sharon Pilkington

Sunday 16th January 2022 – Fontmell Down, Dorset

A chance to explore this escarpment on the western edge of Cranborne Chase which has extensive areas of excellent chalk downland habitat, owned by the Dorset Wildlife Trust and The National Trust. There is a good range of bryophytes, including such species as Entodon concinnus, Tortella (Pleurochaete) squarrosa and Ephemerum recurvifolium. There is also scrub and woodland to explore. Please note that some of the slopes are steep.

Park at the NT Spread Eagle Hill car park south of Melbury Abbas at ST 886187.

Leader: Andrew Branson

Sunday 12th December 2021 – Oareford, Exmoor

A trip to the far west of Somerset to explore Weir Water and Chalk Water which flow west to join the East Lyn River. There are few records from these headwaters. A recent trip turned up a nice selection of classic western river species, epiphytes and species of acid rocks, as well as some nice flushes, with species such as Campylium stellatum, Scorpidium cossonii, Climacium dendroides, Pellia neesiana and Marchantia polymorpha subsp. polymorpha, as well as some good epiphytes. It is wet in places so please wear wellies.

Park at the car park at Robber’s Bridge at SS 821464. This is accessed via the minor road signposted to Oare and Malmsmead off the A39, west of Porlock.

Leader: Andrew Branson

Sunday 21st November 2021 – Langport: Huish Moor and River Parrett

Langport lies at the confluence of the Rivers Yeo and Parrett in the southern Somerset Levels. The area floods regularly in winter and is very humid. Not surprisingly, it is rich in bryophytes; Hygroamblystegium humile, a speciality of the Levels, has been found, as well as Dialytrichia saxicola and Oxyrrhynchium speciosum. Bankside trees in the flood zone support characteristic floodplain communities and Neckera (Leptodon) smithii is one of many epiphytes.

Meet at the river end of the free public car park in Langport (off the A378) at ST 4192 2665. The ground in this area can get very muddy after rain or flooding so wellies are recommended. Note: this meeting may have to be cancelled if the river is in flood – please watch for announcements on this website or contact Sharon beforehand for an update.

Leader: Sharon Pilkington

Sunday 31st October 2021 – Hincheslea Bog, New Forest

This joint meeting with the Southern Group is to an area in the south part of the Forest which has been quite poorly recorded, so who knows what we may find. There is a variety of habitats here, including wet heath and bog, on the Forest’s base-rich Headon Beds, with records for Sphagnum contortum and S. teres from one area. Wellies are recommended.

Meet at the Longslade Bottom car park at SU 269001, just north of Set Thorns Inclosure, off minor road between Brockenhurst and Sway.

Leaders: John Norton and Andrew Branson

Sunday 25th October 2020 – Bramshaw Wood, New Forest

Described in the Flora of Hampshire as ‘one of the most beautiful and spectacular parts of the Forest’ Bramshaw Wood is an extensive wood in the north of the Forest. Parts of the wood is dominated by tall beech and sessile oaks, and also contain a good range of flushed habitats. Apart from an excellent number of species of acid soils and epiphytes of old trees, there are records for Saccogyna viticulosa and a nearby record for the western Harpalejeunea molleri.

Meet at the car park at SU 257172 in the north part of Bramshaw Wood, near Nomansland.

Leader: Andrew Branson

Forthcoming Field Meetings

Here is the programme of meetings for the coming season. We have tried to include a good range of habitats and sites across Dorset, Wiltshire, Somerset and Hampshire. A key aim of the group is to encourage those who are new to the subject to become more experienced and confident at identifying bryophytes. Beginners are most welcome at all our meetings. There is no formal membership or constitution and each person goes out at his/her own risk. The only equipment needed is a hand lens (x10 or x20) and some paper packets for collecting specimens. Many of the sites we plan to visit include wet and muddy areas so boots are advisable. We will usually eat a packed lunch on site. All meetings start at 10.30am and finish between 3pm and 4pm. In the event of poor weather/ treacherous driving conditions, please call or email Andrew or Sharon to check the meeting is going ahead.

Contact: Andrew Branson tel: 01747 838223; e-mail andrew(at)3alpacas.co.uk or Sharon Pilkington tel: 01373 827074/07801 627449; e-mail: sharon.pilkington1(at)btinternet.com.

Important – coronavirus precautions

We follow British Bryological Society coronavirus guidance to safeguard the health of all participants in our field meetings. If you would like to come to one of our field meetings you must book a place on field meetings in advance with the respective group leader. Places will be allocated on a first-come, first served basis and can only be booked one meeting ahead at a time. For more information about the coronavirus and BBS field meetings see http://www.britishbryologicalsociety.org.uk.

Sunday 22nd March 2020 – Velvet Bottom and Long Wood, N. Somerset

Velvet Bottom forms part of the large Cheddar Gorge Complex SSSI. It has areas of lead mine waste, drystone walls, natural rock outcrops and heath and has not been explored properly for its bryophyte interest. Similar habitat at nearby Blackmoor has Ptychomitrium polyphyllum, Bryum donianum and Bryoerythrophyllum ferruginascens. Nearby Long Wood is a lovely steep-sided limestone woodland with a stream and is luxuriantly mossy. There should be much to find.

Park near Charterhouse in the big layby along a minor road at ST 5034 5550.

Leader: Sharon Pilkington

Sunday 16th February 2020 – Midsomer Norton, N. Somerset

WE ARE SORRY BUT THIS EVENT HAS BEEN CANCELLED DUE TO STORMY WEATHER CONDITIONS

Midsomer Norton lies at the heart of the former North Somerset coalfield and old colliery tips are a distinctive feature of the town’s skyline. One of the largest is in the town centre and supports populations of calcifuge species that are rarely seen in N. Somerset. A recent visit produced three new liverwort vice-county records and it is a good place to see Lophocolea semiteres, an increasing species. If time allows we can also explore epiphyte-rich trees and a shallow river nearby.

Meet in the free South Road Car Park at ST 6658 5414.

Leader: Sharon Pilkington

Sunday 12th January 2020 – Bradford-on-Avon and Avoncliff, S. Wiltshire

The area between Bradford-on-Avon and Avoncliff has not been surveyed well for its bryophytes but should be interesting. Habitats include riverside trees and bridges, scrub, drystone walls, old limestone woodland and the Kennet & Avon Canal. Barton Bridge was the first place the rare moss Dialytrichia saxicola was found on the River Avon several years ago and we should see this species and many others.

Meet at the western (river) end of the large station pay-and-display car park in Bradford-on-Avon at ST 8234 6065. The path along the riverbank can get very muddy so wellies are recommended.

Leader: Sharon Pilkington