Sunday 15th November 2020 – Langport: Huish Moor and River Parrett

THIS FIELD MEETING IS POSTPONED DUE TO THE CURRENT CORONAVIRUS LOCKDOWN IN ENGLAND

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 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 the Wessex Bryology Group website or contact Sharon beforehand for an update.

Leader: Sharon Pilkington

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

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

Sunday 8th December 2019 – Tadnoll and Winfrith Heath Reserve, Dorset

This extensive reserve in south Dorset includes areas of dry and wet heath, wet meadows and a chalk stream.  This will be a good chance to explore this varied habitat, which includes a good range of Sphagnum species, as well as classic species of bogs and flushes, some of which have a calcareous influence.

Park at SY 8047 8623, just past the first junction on Gatmore Road, which is opposite the Red Lion pub on the A352 at Winfrith Newburgh, west of Wool. Wellingtons are strongly advised, as it will be wet under foot in places.

Leader: Andrew Branson

Sunday 17th November 2019 – Nettlecombe Court, Monksilver, S. Somerset

Nettlecombe Court and the surrounding area has been well recorded, but this eastern edge of the Exmoor National Park, has some excellent habitat and no doubt some surprising finds will be made. In the past there have been records for species such as Habrodon perpusillus, Leptodon smithii and Schistostega pennata, which we hope to see again.

The turning for Nettlecombe Court is off the B3188 at Woodford, north of Monksilver. We have permission to park in front of Nettlecombe Court at ST 0565 3773.

Leader: Jeff Bates

Sunday 27th October 2019 – Crockford Bottom marl pits, New Forest

This area in the southern New Forest includes streams, flushes, marl pits and bogs on the bryophyte-rich Headon Beds. The site includes records for a wide range of Sphagna, including S. contortum and S. subsecundum, ‘brown mosses’ of calcareous mires, including the Nationally Scarce Campyliadelphus elodes, and some exacting liverworts.

Meet at the southern of the two car parks near Crockford Bridge at SZ 349 988 off the B3054, Lymington road, south of Furzey Lodge and Beaulieu. Conditions can be very wet, so wellington boots are advised.

Leaders: John Norton and Sharon Pilkington

2019 Bryophyte Identification Training in Cornwall by Plantlife

***Opportunity for free specialist training to learn about mosses and liverworts and develop your ID skills***

 

Bryophytes (mosses and liverworts) are small plants that are easily overlooked. Many of us enjoy the bright green carpets they form on trees and boulders, but never think much more about them. However, if you take a close look (and you know what to look for) a diverse and fascinating world is revealed. Bryophytes are a very rewarding group of plants to study, as the UK is home to over half of all Europe’s bryophyte species, and the bryophyte diversity of the south-west’s woods rival the cloud forests of the tropics.

To help with their conservation, Plantlife is offering free training in Cornwall for those interested in bryophytes to develop their identification skills. Those interested are invited to register for one of the 2-day foundation courses taking place this spring at Siblyback Activity Centre, Bodmin Moor with trips to local woodland:

 

  • 7th-8th May (9am-4pm)

 

  • 15th-16th May (9am-4pm)

 

On completing the 2-day workshop, participants will have an opportunity to register for an advanced course (as part of our New Generation Botanist programme) to develop more in-depth ID skills. Advanced courses are free but require commitment to attend 10 sessions in Cornwall over the course of a 12 month period, as well as taking part in own study and peer-supported study sessions. To register your interest please complete the online form here.

Sunday 17th February 2019 – Big Stoke and Westbury Beacon, near Wells, Somerset

Join us to look at a rich area of limestone and loess grassland, rock outcrops, drystone walls and ancient woodland on the Mendip scarp slope.

A brief exploration of this area in 2014 produced a long list of species including Entosthodon muhlenbergii, Brachythecium glareosum, Bryoerythrophyllum ferruginascens, Heterocladium flaccidum, Plasteurhynchium striatulum, Scorpiurium circinatum, Rhodobryum roseum, Fossombronia caespitiformis and Riccia subbifurca. There is surely more to find.

Meet at the entrance to Draycott Sleights nature reserve where the West Mendip Way (bridleway) crosses a lane at ST 486513. Parking is limited here – there is room for several cars but if necessary we can also park with care at the edge of the lane just downhill.

Leader: Sharon Pilkington