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Local Meetings of the BBS

South East Group

 

 

List of meetings in 2001

Sat 20 Jan. 2001. Hosey Common. Meet at car park at TQ 453531. A varied and attractive site which should provide good records. Leader John Cowan

Sat 17 Feb. 2001. Angley Wood. Park at the electricity substation TQ 755357. The outer gates are usually padlocked but I am negotiating for them to be opened for us. In exchange, I have promised the owner a list. This will be our second visit to this large site; this time we will cover a different area and hopefully will refind the old record of Atrichum angustatum. Leader Roy Hurr

Sun 18 Mar. 2001. Lydden Down near Dover. At TR 287444 is the former George & Dragon pub (now offices). Drive over a paved "flood bar" behind the building ('ware grounding) and up a winding track to the car park. A very good chalk site. Leaders Jeff Duckett and Malcolm Watling.

Sun 29 April. 2001. Scotney Castle (National Trust).(Joint meeting with Southern Group). Use NT car park off A21 at TQ 688354. This is an interesting site and if both Groups turn up in force we may have some good finds. Leader Jan Hendey.

Sun 10 October 2001. East Kent arable fields (VC 15)

Sun 28 October 2001. Joint meeting with Southern Group. Scotney Castle (National Trust); use NT car park off A21 at TQ 688354. (This joint meeting was programmed for last year and had to be cancelled due to foot-and-mouth disease.) Leader: Jan Hendey.

Sat 10 November 2001. Arable fields in East Kent. Leader Malcolm Watling. For location details and car parking information ring Malcolm on 01843 220903.

Sat 8 December 2001. Ryarsh Wood and fields. There are closely adjacent arable fields here on the chalk, gault clay and Folkestone sands so this sounds interesting. Take the rough track at TQ 650606 to the NT Culdrum Neolithic site Car Park. Leader Jan Hendey.

 

East Kent arable fields (VC 15), 10 October 2001

This was the introductory meeting in a series to start the arable bryophyte survey in Kent (see pp 50-52 of this Bulletin). The rather poor prevailing weather cleared to give us a sunny, moderately warm day on which to visit two separate sites owned by the Quex Park Estate in Birchington, near Margate.

The first locality was in Quex Park itself: potato fields with Hamble series soil on Head Brickearth over chalk. The potatoes had been harvested late, and some undisturbed areas remained with a bryoflora which had developed since the early summer. The usually dry climate in this area normally leaves very little of note in fields like this, but the recent wetter weather seemed to have boosted the moss quantities to workable levels!

The second site was at King’s End Farm, adjacent to Richborough Castle (Roman remains) near Sandwich, in the lowest reaches of the Stour valley. Our locality was a stubble field in the flood plain, on Newchurch series soil, similar to that on Romney Marsh. The land here is less well drained than on the Marsh, and the field had water-filled ruts and quite a good quantity of mosses in places.

Two methods of study were employed. The first was a repetition of Trudy Side’s sampling for her 1974-75 survey. Twenty pieces of soil of about 9 square centimetres, containing at least some bryophyte growth, were collected at random. A method was devised to eliminate the hazard of losing count. Twenty small plastic food bags were torn from their dispensing box and put into one pocket. As each sample was collected it was put into its own bag, rolled up to avoid spillage and placed with the others into another bag. When all twenty bags had been used, the sampling was complete; the collecting bag was labelled and sealed. Randomness of sampling was enhanced by walking in a zig-zag fashion, accepting specimens from others in the team who had also been collecting in the designated area, and leaving on one’s distance spectacles so as not to see the plants clearly. (Nevertheless, the brownish fuzz of massed sporophytes was still a distraction!) The use of plastic bags meant that the specimens had to be transferred to newspaper packets for drying immediately upon return home. They were later studied in a manner based on the recommendations from Richard Fisk in Bulletin 76: 47, and species lists were drawn up.

The second method was the routine compilation of a comprehensive species list including all taxa that could be identified in the field, with samples taken of any that couldn’t. At both sites this included areas and habitats which were not part of the arable field survey; this was particularly important at King’s End, where, to our knowledge, the bryophytes had not previously been studied.

At the time of writing, the identification of specimens from the 20-sample method is not yet complete, but provisional lists from the arable fields can be presented:

Quex Park: Barbula convoluta, B. unguiculata, Bryum bicolor, B. klinggraeffii, B. rubens, B. violaceum, Dicranella staphylina, Tortula acaulon.

King’s End: Barbula convoluta, B. unguiculata, Bryum rubens, Leptobryum pyriforme, Tortula acaulon, T. modica.

Our special thanks go to Mr A. Curwen, the Estate Manager at Quex, for his most valuable help in arranging the day’s meeting.

MALCOLM WATLING

 

Scotney Estate (VC 14 & VC 16), 28 October 2001

Scotney is a National Trust property best known for its garden set about a moated medieval castle ruin. Beyond is sheep-grazed parkland with some fine old trees and extensive woodlands of, mainly, sweet chestnut coppice, all on Wadhurst Clay. The boundary between VC 14 (East Sussex) and VC 16 (West Kent) forms a loop within the property, making it an ideal site for a joint meeting of the Southern and South-East Groups. Twelve members from Kent, Sussex and Surrey worked the woods and park. A total of 86 species was recorded for the estate, 62 in VC 14 and 56 in VC 16, including a few found on two previous ‘recce’ visits.

In the park a fine wingnut tree was covered with epiphytic lichens and bryophytes, including abundant Zygodon rupestris (VC 14) and some Syntrichia laevipila. A gathering from a stream brought up Fontinalis antipyretica and Chiloscyphus polyanthos, and on the bank, lurking among Fissidens bryoides, a few plants of Epipterygium tozeri (VC 16) were spotted by Rod Stern. Serendipity indeed. Growing with Pleurozium schreberi and Polytrichum formosum on a bank in the park was Hylocomium splendens (VC 16), not seen too often in Kent. Epiphytes were generally scarce in the woods but included Microlejeunea ulicina, Metzgeria furcata, Orthotrichum lyellii and a small amount of Ulota bruchii.

The woodland rides were covered with fallen leaves but Dicranella varia, Tortula truncata and Pseudephemerum nitidum were seen, and a fine stand of Hypnum lindbergii (VC 14) bordered one path for several metres. Wet ditches beside the rides in VC 16 showed abundant Nardia scalaris and Diplophyllum albicans, with Sphagnum palustre and S. denticulatum. The star of the day was Pallavicinia lyellii growing along a woodland bank beside a former forestry track; all plants inspected were female. This Red Data Book species is a new record for VC 16. Scapania nemorea was found near the Pallavicinia. There was a small amount of S. irrigua on the bank of the main drive into the car park.

Otherwise the expected range of bryophytes in mildly acid clay woods was recorded, including the woodland form of Ctenidium molluscum. We failed to find Leucodon sciuroides, recorded here in 1987; every tree in the park needs a further close inspection to discover all the epiphytes.

JAN HENDEY

 

List of meetings in 2000

Sun 8 Oct. 2000. Dungeness. Meet at RSPB nature reserve car park, which is signposted from Boulderwall Farm at TR 063196. Leader Jeff Duckett. Part of the reserve was visited by Kent Field Club last May and this visit aims to cover other parts of the site (from which I believe Antitrichia curtipendula has been recorded.)

Sat 18 Nov. 2000. Limpsfield Chart. Meet at car park at TQ 426521. A National Trust property on the acid Lower Greensand Hythe beds which are not usually bryologically rich - but it is said to have loads of my favourite moss Pleurozium schreberi ! - and an up-to-date list is badly needed. Leader Derek Hill, and we will have with us Dr Norman Robson representing the Trust.

Sun 17 Dec. 2000. Ashurst - Beginners day. Meet at Ashurst Station, TQ 507387. Beginners day, including a pleasant 3 mile walk through Burrswood (may be wet). Leaders Sylvia Priestley and Jan Hendey.

 

Dungeness (VC 15), 8 October 2000

Way back in the late 1960s and early 1970s there were SE Group meetings before the SE Group was invented. The usual format was to meet at Dorking Station, where car drivers collected Ted Wallace and Jack Gardiner, and then to revisit Ted’s old haunts. ‘I expect it will have changed a lot since I was last there’. ‘And when was that Ted?’ ‘1938, or was it 1937?’ Afterwards, a supper of macaroni cheese and whisky was always on offer at Jack’s house at Lancaster Gate.

A specimen of Antitrichia curtipendula in my herbarium (coll. J.C. Gardiner, E.C. Wallace & B. O’Shea; growing on prostrate Prunus spinosa in the shingle at Denge Beach) records such an outing to have taken place in June 1971, and shows that Dungeness had in fact not changed that much in Ted’s bryological lifetime. Thus 30 years on was just about a decent interval of time to merit a repeat visit to Dungeness. Blessed with a rare fine day in an otherwise almost continuously pluvial autumn, the usual Group members (Jan Hendey, Silvia Priestley, Roy Hurr, Howard Matcham and Malcolm Watling) were joined by Jenny Duckworth, Plantlife’s Lower Plant Officer, and David Holyoak, who was keen to refind Bryum warneum, previously collected at Dungeness by Cliff Townsend in 1981.

In the morning we explored the area of artificial pools in the RSPB reserve, where our enthusiasm for crawling and our small magnifying equipment were regarded with much incredulity by passing ornithologists. Disturbed ground by the lakes was singularly dull, apart from large quantities of Aloina aloides, but damp areas in Salix carr yielded Plagiomnium affine and Climacium dendroides, both uncommon in Kent. Stands of dead and dying elders proved more interesting, the assemblage of epiphytes including Cololejeunea minutissima, Cryphaea heteromalla, Syntrichia laevipila var. laevipila and var. laevipilaeformis (new VC record), Zygodon conoideus, Z. viridissimus and Grimmia pulvinata, but oddly no Syntrichia papillosa or any Ulotas. Just as we were about to re-enter the car park for lunch we spotted an area of untouched undulating shingle with Prunus spinosa and Silene nutans growing in the depressions. Closer inspection revealed Antitrichia curtipendula growing on the Prunus in association with Ceratodon purpureus and Frullania tamarisci.

Thwarted by a high fence (which wasn’t there in 1971) in attempting to find more Antitrichia in the Denge Beach area, the bryumvirate spent the afternoon exploring old sand and gravel workings north of the road. Around the pools were literally tens of square metres of Pellia endiviifolia which will be a remarkable sight early next spring when the setae elongate. Growing through the Pellietum were Bryum argenteum, B. bicolor, B. subapiculatum, B. gemmiferum c.fr., B. pallescens c.fr. (new VC record), B. dunense (new VC record) and B. warneum c.fr. Overall the day produced a total of 76 taxa.

David Holyoak plans to return to the area to gather detailed information on the ecology of Bryum warneum and to investigate further other Brya with immature capsules which at the time of writing defy determination. It will also be of interest to find out whether B. warneum and B. pallescens, now in axenic cultures (J.G. Duckett), produce protonemal gemmae.

JEFF DUCKETT

 
 
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