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.

 

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. Because of the remote nature of Fyfield Down this visit is likely to involve 6-7 km of walking.

Leader: Sharon Pilkington