Annual meeting 1952: Dorchester

HomeEventsAnnual meeting 1952: Dorchester

17 April 1952 - 22 April 1952

Meeting report

This year the Annual Meeting was held in Dorchester and was attended by about forty members. Thanks to the efficient organization of Mr Wallace and his skilful choice of localities for exploration the meeting was both successful and bryologically profitable. Unfortunately, Mr Wallace was unable to be present all the time. On these occasions Mr Peterken deputized with his customary geniality, assisted by Mr Wanstall and Mr Norkett on the last two days.

The first excursion, on Thursday 17 April, was to the Isle of Portland. Warm sunny weather imparted a holiday air to this day by the sea, and the finding of many interesting bryophytes as well made it a perfect start to the week. The old quarries at West Cliff were explored first. Here many members collected the rare hepatic Southbya nigrella which grew on damp half-buried stones in company with another rarity, Cephaloziella baumgartneri. Camptothecium lutescens was found on a grassy bank near the road. Further examination of the quarries yielded Trichostomum crispulum, Weissia tortilis,* Encalypta vulgaris, Funaria muehlenbergii, Eurhynchium meridionale and Scorpiurium circinatum, which was common here as well as in many of the other places visited. Other bryophytes seen in the quarries included Aneura multifida, Fissidens cristatus and Tortella flavovirens. Members then proceeded to Portland Bill, visiting on the way a small marsh about a mile to the north of the Bill. Here Cratoneuron filicinum var. fallax* was collected from a trough filled from a calcareous spring. On bare ground and among short grass at Portland Bill, Pottia heimii and P. commutata* were found. Eurhynchium swartzii var. rigidum* occurred on a grassy calcareous bank above Freshwater Bay. Leptodon smithii was very fine on tree boles in the grounds of Pennsylvania Castle, where members had tea. After tea the vicinity of Rufus Castle was explored. Bryophytes seen here included: Marchesinia mackaii, Lejeunea cavifolia,* Eurhynchium meridionale and a form of Eurhynchium striatum with a narrow leaf apex. Mr Banwell found Cephaloziella baumgartneri c.per. at Church Ope Cove.

[Species marked with an asterisk* were new to V.C. 9]

On Friday an excursion was made to Bulbarrow Hill, near Ibberton. Bulbarrow reaches a height of 902 ft. The day was fine and members spent an interesting morning on the wooded north-facing slopes of Woolland Hill. Heterocladium heteropterum var. flaccidum was frequent on damp flints, and there was a little Seligeria paucifolia on pieces of loose chalk. Other species noted were Metzgeria furcata var. fruticulosa,* Lejeunea cavifolia,* Cololejeunea minutissima, Fissidens incurvus, Zygodon viridissimus, Cryphaea heteromalla, Neckera pumila, Thuidium tamariscinum, Isopterygium depressum,* Hylocomium brevirostre After lunch members worked the short turf on the other side of the road but nothing of interest was found. In a small wood below Bulbarrow Hill Microlejeunea ulicina and Rhynchostegiella pallidirostre were the only things worth noting. Mr R. E. Parker collected Drepanocladus aduncus at Milborne St Andrew on the way back to Dorchester.

Saturday was another fine day. Hooke Park was the first place to be visited. Here a luxuriant crop of Physcomitrium pyriforme set everyone collecting. With it was a small quantity of Dicranella schreberiana.* Many people then followed a small stream which acted as a boundary between calcareous and non-calcareous ground. On one side there was Isopterygium depressum* and on the other I. elegans. Other plants collected in and near the stream were: Pellia fabbroniana, Aplozia riparia,* Lophozia turbinata, Lejeunea cavifolia,* Calypogeia arguta, Seligeria pusilla,* Dichodontium pellucidum, Barbula trifaria, Eucladium verticillatum, Trichostomum sinuosum, Orthotrichum striatum, Neckera pumila, Hygroamblystegium tenax, Eurhynchium schleicheri, Rhynchostegiella teesdalei. After lunch a short visit was paid to Wytherstone Marsh. Species seen here were: Sphagnum palustre, Microlejeunea ulicina, Hookeria lucens, and a form of Plagiothecium denticulatum with undulate leaves. The following were found by a stream near Wytherstone Farm: Fissidens pusillus, Eucladium verticillatum, Rhynchostegiella pallidirostre, Barbula trifaria, Hygroamblystegium tenax and Amblystegium juratzkanum.*

On Sunday members followed their own devices. Several re-visited Portland, spending most of a warm sunny day in the neighbourhood of Church Ope Cove. Madotheca thuja, Tortula marginata, Barbula convoluta var. commutata* and Trichostomum crispulum were the best finds.

On Monday the weather broke and, as many members left during the weekend, a much-depleted party emerged from the bus to explore the possibilities of Slepe Heath, near Wareham. An interesting feature of this low-lying moorland was the Dorset Heath, Erica ciliaris, which was abundant on the drier parts. The party splashed about in the wind and rain until a withdrawal to the bus for an early lunch could be made without loss of face. Plants collected on Slepe Heath included: Aneura sinuata var. major, Leptoscyphus anomalus, Cephalozia connivens, C. macrostycha (probably), Odontoschisma sphagni, Lepidozia setacea, Aulacomnium palustre The weather improved a little after lunch and it was possible to explore the grassy calcareous slopes near Corfe Castle in relative comfort. The more interesting things seen here were: Reboulia hemisphaerica, Tortula subulata, Funaria muehlenbergii, Rhodobryum roseum, Scapania aspera,* Tortula laevipila var. laevipiliformis occurred on elders on West Hill, and Cololejeunea minutissima, Microlejeunea ulicina and Plagiochila asplenioides were noted in a small wood. After tea a quick dash was made to a small marsh on Corfe Common. The best things here were: Sphagnum squarrosum, Aneura multifida, Chiloscyphus pallescens, Mnium seligeri, Drepanocladus exannulatus, D. revolvens and Acrocladium giganteum. Dr Warburg spent the afternoon at Maiden Castle, where he found Weissia crispa, Thuidium philiberti* and a peculiar Weissia which has not yet been identified.

The last day, Tuesday, was again spent by the sea, but the rather sinister, soft liassic cliffs around Eype Mouth near Bridport were very unlike the hard matter-of fact oolite of Portland. A striking feature from a bryological standpoint was the large quantity of Anthoceros present. There were two species, A. laevis* and A. husnoti,* both new to V.C. 9. Associated with the Anthoceros was Pohlia delicatula with abundant fruit. Other bryophytes seen at Eype were: Aneura sinuata var. major, Gymnocolea inflata, Tortula marginata, Aloina aloides, A. ambigua, Desmatodon convolutus, Pottia starkeana, Gyroweissia tenuis, Weissia crispata, Epipterygium tozeri, Orthotrichum lyelli, Ulota phyllantha, Leucodon sciuroides var. morensis.* Orthotrichum pulchellum was found by some members on the way back.

The headquarters for the meeting was the Antelope Hotel, Dorchester. The annual general meeting was held in the Oak Room, an impressive if rather gloomy chamber notable for its connexion with Judge Jeffreys, who held his assizes there. It was proposed that the main excursion for 1953 should be held in Scotland with headquarters at Callander, with the possibility of a further week in some other locality. An Easter weekend at Norwich was also suggested.

Members who stayed until the end were saddened by the illness of Miss Knox. Miss Knox, who had been a member since 1931, died shortly after her return home.

J. Appleyard