Sunday 13th March 2022 – Velvet Bottom, Charterhouse, Somerset

Velvet Bottom lies in the heart of the former Mendip lead mining area and forms part of the large Cheddar Gorge Complex SSSI. It has areas of lead mine waste, drystone walls, natural limestone outcrops and heath and has not been fully explored for its bryophyte interest. Similar habitat at nearby Blackmoor has Ptychomitrium polyphyllum, Bryum donianum and Bryoerythrophyllum ferruginascens. This meeting was planned for 2020 and 2021 but had to be cancelled due to the coronavirus outbreak. We hope we are third time lucky in 2022.

Park near Charterhouse in the large layby along the minor road at ST 50345550.

Leader: Sharon Pilkington

Sunday 20th 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