Annual meeting 1955: Arnside

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12 April 1955 - 19 April 1955

Meeting report

The Annual Meeting of the Society was held this year in Westmorland from 12 to 19 April, the Headquarters being at Arnside, a small but attractive resort on the coast. The meeting was well attended, some 30 to 40 members being present, although some of the members were unable to attend for the full week. On two of the excursions we had the pleasure of having with us Dr Philips from Pomona College, Claremont, California (U.S.A.).

On Tuesday, 12 April, an informal meeting was held for members at the headquarters in the Inglemere Hotel during the evening.

Following a long winter and a previous poor summer, we were favoured by having calm, fine, and moderately warm weather, which continued throughout the whole week. This was greatly appreciated by all, and added considerably to the pleasure of the excursions.

The areas of countryside visited were chiefly on Carboniferous limestone, which included a considerable amount of limestone pavement; this gave to our gatherings a predominance of the calcicole bryophytes. The Glencoyne Woods by Lake Ullswater and the Beech Hill Woods in Longsleddale were, however, exceptions, and in these latter localities more acid conditions prevailed.

For the first day’s excursion on Wednesday, 13 April, members walked over Arnside Knott, a nearby hill of about 500 ft. with scattered woodland. The species of bryophytes that were much in evidence in this area were Encalypta streptocarpa, Tortella tortuosa and Breutelia chrysocoma; others of more interest that were seen were Metzgeria pubescens, a little Nowellia curvifolia and Scapania aspera; the mosses included Fissidens cristatus, Tortella nitida, Orthodontium lineare round the base of old larch trees and, as usual, fruiting most profusely; good patches of Rhytidium rugosum were also found. After a picnic lunch the party walked on by Arnside Tower to explore Middlebarrow Woods on a less elevated hill of some 300 ft. The southern portion of this wood is on limestone pavement. From this district one of the most interesting bryophytes seen was Riccia beyrichiana ; Neckera crispa was found fruiting, and Rhytidium rugosum, was again seen. Other bryophytes noted were Scapania aspera, Lejeunea cavifolia, Dicranum bonjeani, Barbula reflexa, Tortella nitida, Funaria muehlenbergii, Anomodon viticulosus, Brachythecium glareosum and Isopterygium depressum.

14 April. For the second day’s outing members went by motor-coach to the village of Witherslack, and then a short walk for a brief visit to Foulshaw Moss, an extensive area of deep peat which is in the process of being drained; it is low lying and sparsely wooded. Sphagna were the dominant bryophytes in this area; the most frequent species were S. palustre, S. papillosum, S. recurvum and S. plumulosum. Occurring less frequently were S. tenellum, S. quinquefarium, S. fimbriatum; in the wetter portions of the bog were forms of S. cuspidatum. The hepatics seen included Lophozia ventricosa, L. silvicola, L. incisa, Cephalozia media, C. connivens and Calypogeia fissa; mosses observed were Tetraphis pellucida Polytrichum alpestre, Dicranum bonjeani and Orthodontium lineare at the base of small birch trees.

The party went on by coach to Whitbarrow, and walked up to the woods and scar which were searched after having a picnic lunch. It is an extensive area, and there was only time to work a small portion of it during the afternoon. A number of bryophytes were seen, among the more interesting noted were Seligeria doniana on a small limestone boulder, Amblystegiella sprucei in a crevice of limestone rock, and Aplozia atrovirens var. sphaerocarpoidea (new to V.C. 69). Other species noted were Metzgeria conjugata, Aplozia riparia, Lophozia turbinata, L. quinquedentata, Cephalozia connivens, Scapania aspera, Lejeunea cavifolia, Madotheca cordeana, Polytrichum nanum, Fissidens incurvus, Seligeria recurvata, Barbula reflexa, Weissia rutilans, Funaria obtusa, Tortella nitida, Trichostomum brachydontium var. cophocarpum, Rhacomitrium fasciculare, Mnium marginatum, M. cuspidatum, M. longirostrum, Orthothecium intricatum, Campylium chrysophyllum, Thuidium tamariscinum Thuidium delicatulum, Rhytidium rugosum. The party returned to Witherslack for tea at the Derby Arms and here Marchesinia mackaii was found.

On Friday, 15 April, the motor-coach took members as far as Docker Nook in Longsleddale, a wooded valley rising steeply to well over 1000 ft., from which the party walked up to explore the Beech Hill Woods, an extensive area where the full day was spent and a number of good bryophytes were found. Lepidozia pearsoni and Lejeunea lamacerina var. azorica were both new to V.C. 69. Campylostelium saxicola was found in the higher reaches by Mr Wallace, Fissidens crassipes and Plagiobryum zierii were found in a small gorge, and an old wall produced Antitrichia curtipendula. Other finds during the day included for hepatics, Reboulia hemisphaerica, Metzgeria conjugata, Lophozia atlantica, L. floerkii, L. quinquedentata, L. bantriensis, L. incisa, Anastrepta orcadensis, Plagiochila spinulosa, Bazzania tricrenata, Trichocolea tomentella, Cololejeunea calcarea and Marchesinia mackaii. Some mosses of interest were Rhabdoweissia denticulata, R. crenulata and Encalypta rhabdocarpa; Neckera crispa was again found in fruit. Further mosses noted were Andreaea rothii, Seligeria recurvata, Campylopus atrovirens, Fissidens osmundoides, Anoectangium compactum, Trichostomum tenuirostre, Anomobryum filiforme, Bryum alpinum, Mnium marginatum, Plagiopus oederi, Bartramia halleriana, Orthotrichum rivulare, Fontinalis squamosa, Plagiothecium pulchellum, Ptilium crista-castrensis and Hylocomium brevirostre.

16 April. A visit was made to Hutton Roof Crag and Farlton Knott. The party left the motor-coach at Clawthorpe Lane End near Holme, and walked up the Hutton Roof Road on to the limestone rocks of Hutton Roof. On these bare-looking hills at 800-900 ft. most of the bryophytes were found either on the more shaded north aspect of the rocks or else in the deep crevices of the limestone pavement. In one of these crevices Pedinophyllum interuptum was found, an additional locality for this rare hepatic. Other species of interest seen were Metzgeria pubescens, Fissidens minutulus, Funaria muehlenbergii, Amblystegiella sprucei and Campylium sommerfeltii; and those of somewhat less interest included Reboulia hemisphaerica, Metzgeria conjugata, Blepharostoma trichophyllum, Physcomitrium pyriforme, Barbula reflexa, Trichostomum brachydontium var. cophocarpum, Orthothecium intricatum, Brachythecium populeum, Rynchostegiella pallidirostra, R. tenella and Rhytidium rugosum.

After enjoying a picnic lunch in warm sunshine on the top of Hutton Roof the party walked across to Farlton Knott, a somewhat similar hill but not quite so high, and sloping more steeply on the northern side. As expected, a number of the bryophytes seen here were the same as those we had seen on Hutton Roof, but there were a few notable additions, including Isothecium striatulum. Other bryophytes seen in this area were Cololejeunea rossettiana, Marchesinia mackaii, Grimmia orbicularis and Zygodon stirtoni.

During the afternoon a small party, led by Dr Warburg, made a brief visit to Wash Dub Wood by the River Keer on the borders of Lancs. V.C. 60 and found several new records for this county; these were Aplozia pumila, Scapania umbrosa, Orthodontium lineare and Heterocladium heteropterum var. flaccidum. Other species noted here were Cephalozia lammersiana, Tetraphis browniana, Fissidens pusillus and Mnium stellare.

17 April. Sunday was a free day for members to do as they wished. A few of the more active members climbed Helvellyn and had the satisfaction of finding Trichostomum tenuirostre var. holtii, Oedipodium griffithianum and Hygrohypnum dilatatum.

The most interesting discovery of the week was made by Mr Peterken during a visit to Silverdale where he found Bryum provinciale (new to V.C. 60) on sandy cliffs on the shore, a notable extension of the range of this rare species, previously unknown north of Gloucestershire and Herefordshire.

During the afternoon a number of members gladly accepted the kind invitation of Dr Evans to visit the Nature Conservancy’s Research Station at Merlewood, Grange-over-Sands. Dr Evans conducted members through the laboratories – only completed in January 1954 – where various branches of ‘long-term’ research work were in progress. These researches have every prospect of being of fundamental value to agriculture, forestry and land management in the future. Thanks to the kindness of Dr Evans, members spent a most interesting and instructive afternoon.

On Monday, 18 April, the continuing fine weather made a visit by motor-coach to Lake Ullswater most enjoyable. Members left the coach at Stybarrow Crag, and scattered up into the Glencoyne Woods which rise steeply above the crags, some members going up to Black Crag 1750 ft. or higher.

In this area the more humid conditions gave rise to a rich and varied bryophyte flora. The ground between the outcrops of rock was marshy and carpeted with Sphagna; the species seen were S. palustre, S. recurvum, S. subsecundum var. inundatum and var. auriculatum; also the well-marked species S. girgensohnii, S. quinquefarium and S. russowii were noted. The fallen decaying trees yielded Nowellia curvifolia growing profusely and in some quantity, Aneura palmata and Scapania umbrosa. Ptilidium ciliare was also seen growing in this rather unusual habitat. The rare moss Ptilium cristra-castrensis was found in plenty, but small and poorly grown compared with luxuriant specimens from some Scottish localities. Hypnum hamulosum was found by Mr Parker. Among the other numerous bryophytes seen were Metzgeria conjugata, Eucalyx obovatus, Lophozia bantriensis, Anastrepta orcadensis, Plagiochila spinulosa, Leptoscyphus taylori, Saccogyna viticulosa, Cephalozia media, C. catenulata, Odontoschisma sphagni, Bazzania trilobata, B. tricrenata, Lepidozia pearsoni, L. trichoclados, Lejeunea patens, Gymnomitrium obtusum, Campylopus atrovirens, Dicranum fuscescens, Rhabdoweissia denticulata, R. crenulata, Grimmia doniana, G. torquata, Anoectangium compactum, Bartramia halleriana, B. ithyphylla, Thuidium delicatulum, Plagiothecium pulchellum, Scorpidium scorpioides, Hypnum imponens, Ctenidium molluscum var. robustum Hylocomium brevirostre and H. umbratum.

19 April. For the last day’s excursion members went by motor-coach to Barbon Village and from there walked up to Barbondale, a moderately steep sparsely wooded valley. By the beck Barbula spadicea was found, Plagiobryum zierii was found deep down in a gill, and many other species seen on previous day’s excursions were seen including Pellia neesiana, Nowellia curvifolia, Trichocolea tomentella, Microlejeunea ulicina, Seligeria recurvata, Pohlia cruda, P. elongata, Anomobryum filiforme and Thamnium alopecurum

In the past Westmorland has been a ‘happy hunting ground’ for bryologists so that one could scarcely hope to add much to the rich bryophyte flora. Owing, no doubt, to the limited time spent in each extensive locality, and probably due to increased drainage, a number of rare species previously recorded were not found.

Many thanks are due to Dr E. M. Evans and to Mr R. Lewis for so kindly acting as excursion leaders, and also to our secretary Mr E. C. Wallace, as well as the leaders, for making such excellent arrangements throughout the meeting. The success and enjoyment of the meeting does them great credit. Thanks are also due to members who very kindly sent in lists of the bryophytes they had found during the excursion.

E. M. Lobley