Wessex Bryology Group Programme 2018-19

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.

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. Unless stated there is no need to book, but in the event of snow/ treacherous driving conditions, please call Andrew or Sharon to check the meeting is going ahead.

 

Entodon concinnus
Entodon concinnus

Sunday 25th November 2018 – Powerstock Common, near Bridport, Dorset

This is a Dorset Wildlife Trust reserve in the heart of the rich, ancient countryside of the west of Dorset. The reserve has been well recorded in the past, but following clearance of conifers there may be some further surprises. The reserve includes ancient wood pasture, with a good epiphyte flora, ancient woodland and fen, with plenty of springs and flushes. A deep, former railway cutting provides access to some calcareous communities; Entodon cocinnus was recently found here.

Park at the reserve entrance at SY 546973, beside a disused railway bridge, on a minor road west of Toller Porcorum, near Maiden Newton, and north of Eggardon Hill. Parking is limited, so please share lifts, if possible.

Leader: Andrew Branson

Plasteurhynchium striatulum
Plasteurhynchium striatulum - a speciality of the area

Sunday 9th December 2018 – Tyntesfield, Bristol

Tyntesfield is a spectacular Victorian gothic revival house with gardens and parkland near Bristol. There are no previous bryophyte records from the estate but promising habitats include gardens, an empty lake, woodland and veteran trees.

The National Trust has kindly agreed to waive its normal car parking and entrance fees for non-NT members wishing to attend this meeting. However, numbers are limited so to book your place please email Sharon by 1st of December.

Tyntesfield is located on the B3128 between Failand and Wraxall and is 2-3 miles from Junction 19 of the M5. The entrance is at ST 501723. From here it’s a short drive down to the car park, where we’ll meet on the eastern side.

Leader: Sharon Pilkington

Sematophyllum substrumulosum
Sematophyllum substrumulosum

Sunday 20th January 2019 – Tristcombe Stone, Quantocks Hills, Somerset

This is another attempt to meet in this wonderful landscape, following the cancellation of the meeting, owing to snow, last December. This remote part of the southern Quantocks has not been recorded as well as some of the combes to the north. There is a mixture of open heath, confer plantations (surely containing more Sematophyllum substrumulosum) streams and a quarry. Paul Bowyer visited the area last year and recorded a good number of species, including several Sphagna, Calliergonella lindbergii and Pogonatum nanum.

Park at the FC car park at ST 163359 at the end of the minor road which follows Cockercombe, west of the village of Plainsfield, which in turn is west of Spaxton.

Leader: Andrew Branson

 

Reboulia hemisphaerica

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

Fyfield Down

Sunday 24th March 2019 – Fyfield Down, Marlborough, Wiltshire

Fyfield Down is a biological and geological SSSI in the Marlborough Downs. It contains the best assemblage of sarsen stones in England and supports populations of bryophytes not known from elsewhere in Wiltshire and/or southern England. Species known from the stones include Grimmia decipiens, Orthotrichum rupestre, Hedwigia stellata, H. ciliata, Racomitrium heterostichum and Pterogonium gracile. We have permission to explore an area where there are few previous records (SU1371).

Meet in the car park north of Manton at SU 159699, which is accessed via a minor lane off the A4. Please note that due to the remote nature of Fyfield Down this visit is likely to involve 6-7km of walking.

Leader: Sharon Pilkington