Hampshire bryophytes

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BBS Southern Group meetings 2017/18

Regrettably I have not been able to put together an advance programme of meetings this winter, but as before, meetings will be arranged 2-3 weeks in advance and details sent to members of the group via e-mail. Due to the unpredictability of the weather, some meetings may be cancelled at short notice by e-mail. Please contact me (John Norton) if you want to come to a meeting or be added to the group mailing list.

All meetings start at 10.30 a.m. unless otherwise stated and most take place on Sundays. Wellington boots (as well as rainproofs, food, drink, etc.) are advisable for most meetings but stout walking boots may be preferable for those on dry or hilly ground.

If you are coming along to a meeting for the first time, please read the BBS health and safety information here.

NEXT MEETINGS

Sunday 13th May 2018 (postponed from March). Heathland and valley mire, Castle Bottom NNR, Yateley, Hants. Leaders: John Norton and Tony Davis. Now postponed again until next winter!

RECENT MEETINGS

Sunday 28 January 2018. The Mens nature reserve, West Sussex. Joint meeting with BBS South-east Group. This Sussex Wildlife Trust woodland reserve has had over 120 bryophyte species recorded in it from the 1970s to 1990s, but has not been recorded since. On the day we only managed to explore a relatively small part of the site, but did see a reasonable number of species. We didn't manage to refind any of the rarer species such as the liverworts Nardia scalaris, Ptilidium pulcherrimum and Trichocolea tomentella, but did record Chiloscyphus pallescens, Ctenidium molluscum, possible Lophocolea semiteres, Norwellia curvifolia, Othotrichum stramineum, and Rhytidiadelphus loreus.

Sunday 12th November. Whiteley Pastures, Hampshire. This Forestry Commission woodland is part of the Botley Wood complex, one of the best woodlands in Hampshire for vascular plants and proving to be quite rich in bryophytes, but has been little explored. Five of us followed a rhomboid-shaped route to cover the western part of the site, centred around grid reference SU534102. Much of the site is moderately acidic oakwood, which has been planted historically with conifers and beech, though many of the conifers have now been removed (or are currently being felled). Our route also took in a small stream running inside the western boundary and a larger one on the north-east side, which supported some adjacent base rich ground with numerous Ash trees. Along the stream banks we found one small inaccessible patch of Epipterygium tozeri and a few patches of Leskea polycarpa, with locally frequent Plagiochila asplenioides. Also on the banks and frequent on the Ash trees was Homalia trichomanoides. We walked over a more strongly acidic part of the woodland, eventually finding some Rhytidiadelphus loreus and a nice liverwort community at the base of a tree comprising gemmiferous Scapania nemorea with Lepidozia reptans, Calypogeia fissa and C. arguta. Another highlight was finding Ulota crispula on a fallen oak branch (though this species seems to be at least as common as U. crispa s.s.). We also added quite a few common species of concrete and road verges at the start and end of the visit, to produce a final total of 71 taxa (17 liverworts and 54 mosses). The route map and species list can be downloaded here (Excel spreadsheet).

Sunday 29th October. Wilverley Walk, New Forest, Hampshire. This was a joint meeting with the Wessex Bryology Group, led by Sharon Pilkington. Twelve of us met at the Wootton Bridge car park at SZ250997 and enjoyed a walk in pleasantly mild and occasionally sunny weather. We explored Sphagnum-rich valley mire and wet woodland habitats eastwards from Wootton Bridge for about 600m, but only had time to briefly look at the most interesting mineral-rich areas at the eastern end of the route, finding Sphagnum teres, S. subsecundum, Sarmentypnum exannulatum and Campylium stellatum here and also Scorpidium scorpioides before we reached this point. Another good find was Sphagnum angustifolium. The wet woodland follows a substantial stream running adjacent to the northern boundary of Broadley Inclosure. Highlights along here included Entosthodon obtusus, Riccardia palmata (2nd New Forest/Hampshire site), frequent patches of Lejeunea lamacerina and abundant Sciuro-hypnum plumosum, in addition to plentiful Ctenidium molluscum and Hookeria lucens. Bryologically, this could be one of the best stretches of riverine woodland in Hampshire.

In all we found 15 Sphagnums and identified 121 bryophyte taxa (including a few weeds on stonework of the bridge). Seven species were new to the 10km square (SZ29). The route map and provisional species list can be downloaded here (Excel spreadsheet).