Annual meeting 1936: Cheltenham

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29 May 1936 - 5 June 1936

Meeting report

(Extracted from The Journal of Botany, January, 1937.)

This Society held its Annual Meeting at Cheltenham from May 29 to June 5, 1936, to study the varied flora of the two vice-counties of Gloucestershire, East (v.c. 33) and West (v.c. 34). The absence of the President, Dr. D. A. Jones, M.Sc., A.L.S., owing to illness, was much regretted. His place was taken by the Vice-President, Mr. J. B. Duncan. It was a small meeting, upwards of twenty members only being present.

Mr. H. H. Knight, the Local Secretary, whose knowledge of the Bryophyte flora of the area is unrivalled, planned a comprehensive series of excursions, in each of which he pointed out the most interesting plants. Some of the earlier records are now, unfortunately, being lost, owing to changes in terrain. For example, the area of the few and small Sphagnum bogs is becoming more restricted. Also with road changes the flora disappears. This is particularly the case with the wall-top flora of the Cotswold villages. Formerly the two mosses Tortula pusilla and lamellata were quite common in such situations, but are now never seen. However, there are large areas in the Forest of Dean woodland where the vegetation is unaltered, notably in the Buckstone woods above the River Wye.

The cold stormy weather, with northeast wind and heavy thunder-showers, rather spoiled the rambles.

On Saturday most of the day was spent on the hills at Whittington, where Thuidium abietinum and philiberti were growing in the short turf and Hypnum sommerfeltii on the oolitic walls. Then through Puckham wood with Amblystegium confervoides and Seligeria pusilla on the stones, and over the hills to Sevenhampton Marsh, where Climacium dendroides in fine fruit has been found. After a short halt near Notgrove Station to see Cryphaea heteromalla and Zygodon conoideus on Elders, Northleach was visited on the return journey.

Next day there was an afternoon ramble to Cleeve Hill and up to the summit (1070 feet), where the well-known golf links are situated. On the way Cylindrothecium concinnum was pointed out.

On Monday the drive was through Painswick to the woods above King’s Stanley, where very heavy rain and tall wet undergrowth hindered work among the mosses, and consequently Mnium serratum, which grows in some quantity in the lower part of the wood was not found. Higher up in the wood Bartramia oederi and Lophozia muelleri were seen. Two interesting archaeological sites were visited on Uley Downs:- the large earthwork of Uley Camp, covering the hill-top, with unusually high steep banks, and Uley Long Barrow, a perfect place of prehistoric sculpture, entered from the hill turf by a low stone doorway about 21/2 feet square. It contains five rock chambers about 6 feet high.

On Tuesday a visit was made to the Forest of Dean, through Mitcheldean and Drybrook to explore Wigpool Common, a high open area with gorse and dwarf willow and some small Sphagnum bogs. These are rare in the Forest; several subsecundum forms and a few others, as molluscum, are found. The hepatics seen were Odontoschisma sphagni, Alicularia geoscyphus, and a few sterile stems of Cephaloziella striatula. A marsh at Foxes Bridge showed more Sphagna, with Hypnum stramineum.

On Wednesday, the western side of the Forest of Dean was visited. A stop was made at Staunton for the rocks and woods about the Buckstone. Continuous rain made the woods too wet for exploration. Hedwigia ciliata, Leptodontium flexifolium, Pterogonium gracile, and a few other mosses were found. Some of the plants that grow here are Andreaea rothii, Cynodontium bruntoni, Dicranum fuscescens, Bazzania trilobata, Cephalozia media, etc. At Tintern the party saw Fissidens rivularis in the locality recently found by Mr. E. W. Jones, and the new species Lejeunea planiuscula growing with Metzgeria furcata on Old Red Sandstone rock; also Eurhynchium swartzii var. rigidum a new record for v.c. 35.

On Thursday a drive was taken over the Cotswolds. After visiting the wood at Hailes the drive continued up Stanway Hill and down the River Windrush to Lower Guiting, and another halt was made at Kineton Thorns. The finds here included Bryum inclinatum and Reboulia hemisphaerica, the latter a new record for v.c. 33. The journey continued through Stow-on-the-Wold, Burford, Bibury, and back through Cirencester.

On Tuesday evening the Annual Meeting took place, with election of Officers:- President and Treasurer, Mr. J. B. Duncan; Vice-President, Miss E. Armitage; Hon. Secretary, Mr. A. Thompson. The place chosen for next year’s meeting is Bundoran in Sligo, during the summer of 1937.

Eleonora Armitage