Annual meeting 1964: Isle of Wight

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6 April 1964 - 13 April 1964

Meeting report

Between 6 and 13 April the Society paid its first visit to the Isle of Wight (v.c. 10). Ventnor was used as a base and from there excursions were made to many parts of the island by the thirty or more members attendant for all or part of the week. It was a pleasure to welcome to the meeting several new members, and Mr Gillis Een, one of our Swedish members.

7 April. The coastline between Ventnor and St Catherine’s Point, the southern tip of the island, was chosen for the first day’s excursion. The rock here is mostly Upper Greensand, but Lower Greensand comes in at St Catherine’s Point. Much of the ground is unstable and recent landslips and rock-falls were in evidence. Some of the area is wooded and a few wet areas were found, but the main collecting ground was the rough bouldery slopes which undulate down to the sea. The coast between Ventnor and the Undercliff at St Lawrence was worked by one party and they saw Riccia glauca, Tortula marginata, Gyroweisia tenuis, Eucladium verticillatum, Trichostomum sinuosum, Fontinalis antipyretica, Leptodon smithii, Scorpiurium circinatum and Rhynchostegiella tenella. The larger party spent the day exploring St Catherine’s Point and obtained similar lists: several noteworthy additions, however, were Cephaloziella baumgartneri*, C. stellulifera, Marchesinia mackaii*, Fissidens minutulus var. minutulus*, Aloina ambigua, Acaulon triquetrum, Bryum rubens*, B. klinggraeffii*, B. micro-erythrocarpum*, Isothecium striatulum, Eurhynchium speciosum and E. megapolitanum.

[* = New v.c. record]

8 April. The morning was spent in the exploration of an area of alder fen carr known as The Wilderness, and the banks of the River Medina nearby. The area of fen yielded Pallavicinia lyellii*, Lepidozia reptans, Metzgeria fruticulosa*, Sphagnum palustre, S. squarrosum, S. recurvum, S. cuspidatum*, S. subsecundum var. auriculatum, S. fimbriatum, Ulota phyllantha, U. crispa, Plagiothecium latebricola, P. denticulatum var. denticulatum*, P. curvifolium*, P. ruthei*, P. succulentum and P. sylvaticum. In an adjoining arable field Anthoceros punctatus, Riccia warnstorfii* and Pseudephemerum nitidum were seen. It was at The Wilderness in 1908 that Solenostoma caespiticium was found new to the British Isles. Most members were keen to re-find the plant here, and the banks of the River Medina were searched thoroughly. Unfortunately the only Solenostoma found was S. crenulatum, but as compensation for the disappointment the exciting discovery of Pohlia pulchella* (see pages 760-3 of this volume) was made. Other bryophytes found nearby included Fossombronia pusilla, Dicranella cerviculata (orthocarpous and normal forms), Physcomitrium pyriforme and Leptobryum pyriforme.

After lunch the party motored to the north-east edge of Parkhurst Forest where stream-banks produced some interesting bryophytes, amongst them Cephaloziella turneri,, Scapania undulata*, Lejeunea lamacerina var. azorica* and Fissidens celticus* (see pages 780-4 of this volume). Other bryophytes listed included Lophozia bicrenata, Campylopus introflexus* and Funaria obtusa.

A small party visiting Headon Warren near Totland found Cephalozia connivens and Orthodontium lineare*. Part of the Bouldnor Cliff north-east of Yarmouth was explored by some members, and in a heavy clay area they found Riccardia multifida. R. sinuata, R. pinguis and Weissia microstoma.

9 April. This was a day of excursions to numerous localities by different parties. Before setting off to Freshwater Bay in the morning, however, it was suggested that members would possibly like to see the very rare Leptodontium gemmascens on a thatched roof near Brighstone, discovered there new to the island in the preceding November by Mr E. C. Wallace. Those who reached the thatch first were soon able to retire to a safe distance before the remainder of the convoy arrived on the scene, and to observe the invasion of the peaceful village. The keenness of the members was commendable. Freshwater and East Afton Down were eventually reached and here were recorded Porella laevigata, Pottia commutata, Phascum curvicollum, P. cuspidatum var. piliferum*, Tortella inflexa*, Pleurochaete squarrosa, Bryum ruderale* and Rhodobryum roseum. Tennyson Down was visited by one party but they recorded nothing noteworthy. Later, at the Needles and near the coast of Alum Bay, Scapania aspera*, Porella laevigata and Bryum obconicum were found. A chalk pit near Brook Hill yielded Seligeria paucifolia and S. calcarea, and in a field near Compton Farm Weissia squarrosa* was discovered. An arable field at Brook proved exciting when, together with Riccia glauca, R. warnstorfii and R. sorocarpa, a small Tortula whose identity was unknown, was found. This has now been described as a new species, T. vectensis (see pages 763-6 of this volume). At Chilton Chine Cephaloziella hampeana was recorded from clay on the coast and Dicranella schreberana* was found in a field.

10 April. The Landslip near the coast east of Ventnor was the main collecting ground for the day. The area is of sloping boulder-strewn woodland with rock out crops and occasional recent land-falls. Here were found Leiocolea turbinata,, Porella platyphylla, Lejeunea lamacerina var. azorica, Cololejeunea rossettiana, Bryum pseudotriquetrum var. pseudotriquetrum*, B. bornholmense*, Amblystegium compactum*, Cirriphyllum crassinervium and Isopterygium depressum.

After the Landslip had been worked the party split up. Those who went to the nearby Luccombe Chine, where the steep clayey sides of the stream were searched, recorded Fissidens crassipes* and Zygodon conoideus. One party which went north wards to Palmer’s Brook recorded Chiloscyphus pallescens, Radula complanata and Cinclidotus mucronatus*. Some members visited the Downs above Bonchurch but found nothing worth mentioning.

11 April. Combley Great Wood, in the vicinity of Lynn Farm, was the first stopping-place. The wood in this area is mainly deciduous but has a few planted conifer strips. Sides of drainage channels provided the largest number of bryophytes, among them Diplophyllum albicans, Fissidens exilis, Funaria obtusa and Leptobryum riparium. Corticolous species included Orthotrichum lyellii. A search in a nearby field revealed Dicranella schreberana, Weissia microstoma var. brachycarpa*, W. squarrosa, Funaria fascicularis, Ephemerum serratum var. minutissimum* and Mnium seligeri.

After lunch the party split up. Some visited Mersley Down and found Fissidens minutulus var. tenuifolius*, Encalypta vulgaris and Pottia lanceolata. An old chalk quarry on Ashey Down produced Metzgeria furcata in the turf, Phascum floerkeanum, Bryum pallens, Thuidium philibertii and Entodon concinnus. Some members visited Brading Down, and others Culver Cliff, but at neither place was any note-worthy bryophyte recorded.

The Annual General Meeting was held at 8.30 p.m. with Dr E. V. Watson in the chair.

12 April. On this, the last day of the Meeting, there were no planned excursions. A few fresh localities, however, were visited, and several interesting bryophytes noted. One party went to Shanklin Chine where they found Philonotis rigida in some quantity; also seen here were Anthoceros laevis, Blasia pusilla,, Epipterygium tozeri and Rhynchostegiella curviseta. Near Bagwich another party found Orthotrichum stramineum*, Plagiothecium latebricola and P. ruthei. Apse Heath, north west of Shanklin, produced Bartramia pomiformis. In Whale Chine, in Chale Bay, Dichodontium pellucidum, Tortula subulata var. subulata, Pottia crinita var. crinita (with a rudimentary peristome) and Rhynchostegiella pumila were seen. Members visiting Blackgang Chine in the same vicinity found Lophozia ventricosa agg. and Nardia scalaris. Weissia tortilis* was found on Brighstone Down. At Gatcombe Mill were recorded Aulacomnium androgynum, Orthotrichum striatum and Hygroamblystegium tenax*.

During the week many bryophytes common in the south but less common or absent in the north were seen in several different localities, often in great abundance. Among these the following are worthy of mention: Seligeria paucifolia, S. calcarea, Tortula marginata, Aloina aloides, Pottia recta, Weissia crispa and hybrids, Leptodon smithii, Scorpiurium circinatum and Eurhynchium megapolitanum. On the other hand, Marchantia polymorpha and Climacium dendroides, to mention only two, still remain to be recorded on the island.

On each day of the Meeting bryophyte mapping cards were filled in conscientiously, but this task was lessened by the fine and warm weather which prevailed on all days except the last. The week was extremely enjoyable and thanks are extended to Messrs E. C. Wallace and P. J. Wanstall who, with assistance from Mr A. H. Norkett, organized the meeting.

I would like to thank all members who supplied me with lists of collections they made on the island during the week.

A. R. Perry


Isle of Wight