Wessex Bryology Group

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This is a new group that has been set up to record sites in Wiltshire, Dorset, and parts of Somerset. 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. There is no formal membership or constitution and each person goes out at his/her own risk. Beginners are always very welcome; 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.

Wessex Bryology Group contacts

For further information on the Wessex Bryology Group please contact:

Contact:

Andrew Branson or
Sharon Pilkington

E-mail:

andrew@3alpacas.co.uk or
sharon.pilkington1@btinternet.com

Telephone:

Andrew: 01747 838223
Sharon: 01225 775945

Wessex Bryology Group Field Meetings 2016-17

Common Tamarisk-moss - Thuidium tamariscinum

Common Tamarisk-moss
Thuidium tamariscinum

Photo: Bryan Edwards

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.

Contacts:

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.

 Linford Bottom, Pinnick Wood and Picket Bottom, New Forest:   Sunday October 30th. Leader: John Norton.
Meet at the Linford Bottom car park SU181072, north of Linford.
This area of the New Forest with oak woodland, streams and acid heathland has been poorly recorded compared to some other parts of the Forest, but has some intriguing recent and old records such as Campylopus subulatus, Herzogiella seligeri and Anastrophyllum minutum. A joint meeting with the BBS Southern Group.

 East Harptree Woods and Harptree Combe, North Somerset:   Sunday November 12th. Leader: Sharon Pilkington.
Meet and park in the large Forestry Commission car park at East Harptree Woods at ST557541 off Smitham Hill. Wellies strongly recommended.
An important relict of Somerset’s industrial heritage, East Harptree Woods is a former lead and zinc mine with diverse and bryophyte-rich habitats. We should see Colura calyptrifolia, Ditrichum plumbicola and many different species of Sphagnum. We’ll also walk to Harptree Combe, one of Mendip’s hidden mini-gorges. It is rich in limestone and woodland bryophytes including Cololejeunea rossettiana and Seligeria donniana.

 Lulworth Cove:   Sunday January 8th. Leader: Andrew Branson.
Meet at the public car park (pay and display) at Lulworth Cove at SY821801.
This area of the Dorset coast has some rather special bryophytes to match the stunning scenery. There was a possible recent find of the diminutive Pterygoneurum papillosum from the area, which might be interesting to track down. However, more likely finds are a good range of coastal Pottiales, including the possibility of declining species, such as Tortula viridifolia, as well as some larger pleurocarps, including Rhynchostegium megapolitanum.

 Sand Point and Middle Hope, Weston-super-Mare, North Somerset:   Sunday February 19th. Leader: Sharon Pilkington.
Meet and park in the National Trust’s Sand Point car park at the end of Beach Road at ST330659. A nominal parking charge is likely to apply to non-members of the NT.
Sand Point and Middle Hope is a dramatic limestone headland jutting out into the Bristol Channel. It has a rich bryophyte flora including a large population of the very rare Cheilothela chloropus. Other rarities previously recorded in the area include Weissia levieri, Bryum kunzei, B. torquescens, Didymodon acutus and Pleurochaete squarrosa.

 Exmoor National Park:   Saturday & Sunday March 18th / 19th. Leader: Andrew Branson.
We will meet at 10.30am on Saturday morning at the National Trust study centre at Piles Mill, near Allerford, Minehead TA24 8HP; GR SS 905465. We will then split into groups and record a series of 1km squares in the area. We will meet up after the day at Piles Mill to review the day and look at material, so if you wish to bring microscopes National Trust have kindly agreed to allow us to use the study centre for Saturday evening. On Sunday we will again meet at 9.00 at Piles Mill and then go on to look at some further sites, finishing at around 4pm. Those wishing to attend for the whole weekend or just for a day should contact Andrew at andrew@3alpacas.co.uk.
A return visit to this very rich area after a very successful weekend last March. This year we are planning to go further into the National Park and also visit some coastal areas and other National Trust sites. With tantalising old records for many species in this region, there is still much to discover.

 King Alfred’s Tower and western section of Stourhead Estate:   Sunday April 17th. Leaders: haron Pilkington and Andrew Branson.
Meet at the NT car park (charge for non-NT users) near King Alfred’s Tower at ST748354.
This area, at the heart of the Forest of Selwood on the Wiltshire/Somerset border, is on an Upper Greensand ridge and is therefore more acidic than much of the surrounding area. The meeting will explore the woodlands and rides in this extensive National Trust property, including some excellent wet woodland, with Sphagnum and species such as Trichocolea tomentella. A recent discovery of Colura calyptrifolia near here, in North Somerset, raises the intriguing possibility that it is also in South Wiltshire. Will we find it?