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A bryological tour through

Lincolnshire (v.-c.53 & 54)

... with Christine Rieser and Frank Lammiman

and a Postscript by Mark R D Seaward


The land of the Yellow Bellies (regimental colours I believe, not birds or beasts) is the largest English county after Yorkshire, and is often perceived as a vast, flat expanse of mainly cultivated and improved land subject to drying winds from the east and polluting winds from the west. The average bryologist would not be drawn to come here looking for rare mosses or liverworts but in fact there is a wide variety of habitats in the county, and careful and persistent search has revealed some interesting species.

The long coastline offers maritime marsh supported by scrub and sand dunes with a fresh water marsh behind, long stretches of this being SSSI/NNR of interest particularly to botanists and bird watchers.

In the south of the county, inland from the coast is a large area of reclaimed fenland which is of little interest to bryologists, but across North-East Lincs lie the low rolling hills of the chalk Wolds, mostly overlain with boulder clay. There are many abandoned chalk quarries here which are worth looking at, and woodlands to explore.

The more southerly area of the Wolds is on the Spilsby sandstone, which is not rich in bryophytes.

The clay valley to the West of the Wolds is in places overlain with acidic cover sands and elsewhere with more mildly acidic glacial sands and gravels as in the Woodhall Spa area, resulting in mildly acidic to mildly basic heathy areas.

The central clay area which is calcareous bears a group of woodlands known as the Bardney small-leafed lime woods.

To the west of the Ancholme valley there is a limestone ridge running from the South of the county in the Stamford area north to the Humber with two gaps at Ancaster and Lincoln filled by river gravel or sand. The Ironstone deposits mined for the Scunthorpe steel industry are associated with this ridge.

Beyond this to the west and north lie the Trent plain and the peat moors of the Isle of Axholme.

Major sites of interest for mosses and liverworts are as follows with some of the less common species found recently.


Saltfleetby-Theddlethorpe Dunes NNR and Lincs Wildlife Trust. Rimac entrance TF467917

Gibraltar Point NNR and Lincs Wildlife Trust Skegness S. Car Pk TF556581

Bryum dunense, Climacium dendroides, Cryphaea heteromalla, Hennediella (Pottia) heimii, Hylocomium splendens, Rhytidiadelphus triquetrus, Syntrichia (Tortula) papillosa, Syntrichia (Tortula) laevipila, Syntrichia ruraliformis, Tortella flavovirens, Tortula viridifolia (Pottia crinita), Ulota phyllantha

Frullania dilatata


Fen area woodland

Friskney Decoy Wood, LWT TF464567

Cryphaea heteromalla, Fissidens incurvus, Herzogiella seligeri, Ulota phyllantha

Metzgeria fruticulosa


Wolds, Chalk Quarries and grassland

Mill Hill Quarry, Claxby. Lincs Wildlife Trust, TF452716

Fir Hill Quarry, Little Cawthorpe, LWT TF362828

Candlesby Hill Quarry, Welton-le-Marsh LWT TF460582

N.Ormsby Pit (Private)TF289934

Bigby Old Quarry,TA059078

Tetford Hill Quarry (Private) TF330760

Aloina aloides, Aloina brevirostre (Bigby Old Quarry), Cryphaea heteromalla, Ditrichum gracile, Eurhynchium pumilum, Fissidens incurvus, Fissidens viridulus, Microbryum (Phascum) curvicolle, Microbryum (Phascum) floerkeanum (Binbrook and Mill Hill), Microbryum starckeanum (Pottia starckeana), Microbryum davallianum (Pottia starckeana ssp. conica) Pottia bryoides (N. Ormsby Pit), Mnium stellare (Fir Hill Quarry), Orthotrichum pulchellum, Rhytidiadelphus triquetrus, Seligeria calcarea, Trichostomum crispulum, Leiocolea turbinata (Tetford Hill) and Metzgeria fruticulosa

Many more quarries are worth a look but some are not open to the public on safety grounds, S.Ferriby Quarry, Elkington Pit, Elsham Chalk Pit, to mention a few.

Red Hill, (red chalk) grassland and quarry. LWT TF264806

Binbrook, chalk roadside field TF222939

Binbrook, chalk roadside bank TF197949

Ephemerum recurvifolium, Hylocomium brevirostre (Binbrook bank), Microbryum (Phascum) curvicolle, Microbryum (Phascum) floerkeanum, Microbryum davallianum (Pottia starckeana ssp. minutula) Tortula lanceola (Pottia lanceolata), Tortula modica (Pottia intermedia), Trichostomum crispulum.


Wolds, steep-sided chalk valleys

Hubbards Hills, R.Lud vale, Louth, TF316867, Public park

Anomodon viticulosus, Didymodon (Oxystegus) sinuosus, Neckera complanata, Rhynchostegium murale, Syntrichia (Tortula) latifolia, Syntrichia (Tortula) virescens

Swaby valley, LWT. TF390776

Cryphaea heteromalla, Ephemerum recurvifolium, Microbryum (Phascum) floerkeanum, Microbryum rectum (Pottia recta), Orthotrichum pulchellum, Seligeria calcarea, S. calycina (S. paucifolia), Zygodon rupestris (Z. baumgartneri),

Metzgeria fruticulosa, M. furcata, Radula complanata

Tetford Hill Rdside Wdld TF330760

Anomodon viticulosus, Neckera complanata, Porella platyphylla

Other wooded chalk slopes at Binbrook, Fotherby Common


Wolds, Woodlands on chalky boulder clay

Welton Vale, S.Elkington. TF293869 Privately owned, public F.P.

Haugham and Burwell woods, TF367812 Privately owned. Permit needed.

Muckton Wood , LWT, TF382810

Hoplands Wood, Claxby-by-Alford. LWT. TF459718

Rigsby Wood. Rigsby-with-Ailby. LWT. TF421762

Amblystegium tenax, Cryphaea heteromalla, Homalia trichomanoides ,Isothecium myosuroides, Isothecium myurum, Neckera complanata, Orthotrichum pulchellum, Plagiomnium ellipticum, Platygyrium repens, Rhynchostegium murale, Rhytidiadelphus triquetrus, Seligeria calycina (S. paucifolia), Scleropodium caespiticium, Ulota bruchii, U. phyllantha, Zygodon conoideus, Z. viridissimus,

Aneura pinguis, Frullania dilatata, Leiocolea turbinata, Metzgeria fruticulosa, Plagiochila asplenioides, Radula complanata, Riccardia chamedryfolia.


Spilsby Sandstone

Habitats not specially good for bryophytes although Frullania tamarisci 1st record for vc 54 found here, also Zygodon rupestris (Z. baumgartneri).

Snipedales Country Pk. LWT. TF330682

Sow Dales LWT.TF349666

Furze Hill LWT. TF346689


Heathy areas in clay vale with cover sands, west of the Wolds

Linwood Warren, LWT. TF133877

Dicranum bonjeanii, D. majus, D. spurium, Polytrichum longisetum, Sphagnum compactum, S. inundatum, S. tenellum and others, Tetraphis pellucida (+ capsules)

Cephalozia connivens, Gymnocolea inflata, Lophozia ventricosa, Ptilidium ciliare.

Walesby Moor TF120911

Orthotrichum lyellii, Ulota bruchii, U. phyllantha

Calypogeia fissa, C .muelleriana, Lepidozia reptans, Lophozia ventricosa.

Willingham Woods. Forestry Comm. TF136884

Calypogeia fissa, Riccia fluitans


Areas of glacial sands and gravels, near Woodhall Spa

(Mildly acidic, heathlands with some woods and wet areas)

Moor Farm, Kirkby on Bain LWT.TF226635.

Kirkby Moor, Kirkby on Bain LWT. TF225629.

Aulacomnium palustre, Dicranum bonjeanii, Leucobryum glaucum, Sphagnum spp., Tetraphis pellucida.

Cephalozia connivens, Fossombronia foveolata, Lepidozia reptans, Lophozia ventricosa, Pellia neesiana, Ptilidium ciliare, Riccardia chamedryfolia


Bardney small-leafed lime woods and Chambers Farm wood, on calcareous boulder clay, vale S.W. of the Wolds

Chambers Farm Wood TF148739 Forestry Commission

Cocklode & Great West Wood TF1076 Forestry Commission

Hardy Gang Wood TF092751 Forestry Com

Other woods in this area:-Austacre Wd, College Wd, Newball Wd, Wickenby Wd

Dicranum flagellare,(Hardy Gang), D. montanum, D. tauricum, Encalypta streptocarpa, (Austacre) Fissidens exilis, Ulota bruchii, U. phyllantha

Calypogeia arguta, Frullania dilatata, Fossombronia pusilla, Plagiochila asplenioides, Ptilidium pulcherrimum, Radula complanata, Riccia fluitans.


Lincoln gap, river gravel and sand

Skellinthorpe Old Wood, SK906722

Dicranum tauricum, Rhytidiadelphus triquetrus, Ulota bruchii

Plagiochila asplenioides, Ptilidium pulcherrimum

Whisby Nature Park, SK911663

Aloina aloides, Aulacomnium palustre, Fissidens adianthoides, Sphagnum (3spp)

Lophocolea semiteres

Swanholme N.R SK946699

Aulacomnium palustre, Sphagnum ( 8 spp ), Ulota bruchii,

Chiloscyphus pallescens, Gymnocolea inflata, Lophocolea semiteres

Sleaford ballast pits, Fen edge clays & gravel TF084447

Plagiomnium elatum, Plagiomnium ellipticum, Sphagnum spp.

Chiloscyphus pallescens, Riccardia chamedryfolia

Burton gravel pits, LWT. SK943740

Cryphaea heteromalla,

Chiloscyphus pallescens, Frullania dilatata.


Ancaster Gap, limestone and gravels

Copper Hill verge & Dukes Covert LWT SK980422 Limestone.

Ctenidium molluscum, Encalypta streptocarpa, E. vulgaris, Weissia brachycarpa var .obliqua (W. microstoma)

Moor Closes LWT.SK982438 old wet pasture on sands & gravels

Climacium dendroides


Meadows , fields

Silverines meadows, Asterby. LWT TF259787

Physcomitrium pyriforme

Anthoceros punctatus

Sotby meadows, LWT. TF205779

Orthotrichum pulchellum, Ulota phyllantha,

Frullania dilatata


Springs and fountains

Tetney Blow Wells, LWT TA320012

Amblystegium tenax, Fontinalis antipyretica, Ulota bruchii, Ulota phyllantha

Ricciocarpus natans,

Claxby Spring Roadside, TF450715

Amblystegium tenax, Eucladium verticillatum, Rhynchostegium murale, Rhynchostegiella tenella,

Other fountains at Worlaby, Syphel at Caistor



Trent Port, Marton, SK835816

Cinclidotus fontinaloides, Leskea polycarpa, Orthotrichum sprucei, Schistidium alpicola, Syntrichia (Tortula) latifolia

R.Bain meadows at Market Stainton/ Stenigot (privately owned) TF240805

Leskea polycarpa, Syntrichia (Tortula) latifolia

Slea Canal, Haverholme Priory, TF107496

Cryphaea heteromalla, Didymodon (Oxystegus) sinuosus, Eucladium verticillatum


Acid sands, Isle of Axholme.

Laughton Fo, Peacocks Pltn, Owlet Pltn, Tuetoes Hill (mostly Forestry Commission), Scotton Common.LWT

Polytrichum strictum (P. alpestre), P.longisetum, 5 spp. Sphagnum

Fossombronia foveolata, Jungermannia gracillima, Lophocolea semiteres, Ptilidium ciliare, Riccardia chamedryfolia, R.multifida.

Twigmoor SE944057

3spp.Sphagnum, Lophozia ventricosa, Ptilidium ciliare

Langholme Wd and Sand Pit, LWT SK751978

Pogonatum aloides, Ptilidium ciliare

Messingham Sand Quarry , with calcareous fen LWT SE908032

Aulacomnium palustre, Bryum pseudotriquetrum, Warnstorfia exannulata (Drepanocladus exannulatus), D. polygamus (Campylium polygamum), Philonotis calcarea, Sphagnum spp.

Aneura pinguis, Riccia fluitans


Peat bogs

Epworth Turbary, Raised bog relict LWT SE758036

Sphagnum spp. Lophocolea semiteres

Crowle Moor, Raised peat bog, LWT,  SE759145 & SE756137

Aulacomnium palustre, Dicranella cerviculata, Drepanocladus aduncus, D. fluitans, Polytrichum strictum(P. alpestre), P. longisetum, Sphagnum cuspidatum, S.papillosum & others.

Calypogeia muelleriana, Gymnocolea inflata


Limestone areas

Clapgate Pits LWT SE961109

Didymodon rigidulus (Barbula rigidula), Bryoerythrophyllum recurvirostrum (Barbula recurvirostra), Encalypta streptocarpa, Fissidens adianthoides, Tortella tortuosa, Tortula subulata.

Rowland Pltn. SE961110

Rhodobryum roseum

Bagmoor Gullet (Open cast Ironstone, calcareous water) SE906167

Didymodon tophaceus (Barbula tophacea), Bryum pseudotriquetrum, Palustriella commutata var. falcata (Cratoneuron commutatum var. commutatum), Drepanocladus aduncus, Fissidens adianthoides

Morkery Wd , SK954194

Campylium stellatum var .stellatum, Encalypta streptocarpa, Calliergonella (Hypnum) lindbergii, Ulota bruchii, U. phyllantha

Frullania dilatata, Metzgeria fruticulosa


Postscript by Mark R.D.Seaward

The last published bryophyte flora for Lincolnshire was published 20 years ago (Seaward,M.R.D. 1983. A Bryophyte Check-list for Lincolnshire, Bradford). At that time, 382 taxa had been recorded from the county, of which 14 had not been seen since the 19th century (1 presumed extinct) and 18 were doubtful in the absence of supporting herbarium material. Since then, there has been a net gain of 15 taxa (some being lost due to taxonomic revision) and numerous taxa not seen for many years have been rediscovered, including several of those formally categorized as doubtful. By 2002 the Lincolnshire bryophyte flora could be summarized as follows:




Taxa not seen for
50 years or more


Taxa not seen for
100 years or more


Possible, but not
supported by
herbarium material






Of those taxa not seen for 50 years or more, attention should be drawn to the nationally rare species, such as Bryum marratii and B.mamillatum, which were thought to have been swept away as a consequence of the disastrous coastal flooding in 1953. The very considerable coastal development, particularly in respect of tourism, since then would not be conducive to their continued presence or re-establishment, but one is always hopeful of rediscovering remnant populations in those dune systems embraced by nature reserves; the recent rediscovery of Bryum warneum there would support this view.

Due to a few devoted naturalists, bryological recording continues to thrive within the county, the results of which are published annually in the Transactions of the Lincolnshire Naturalists’ Union.

Copyright © British Bryological Society .