Annual meeting 1967: King’s Lynn

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5 April 1967 - 12 April 1967

Meeting report

The Spring Meeting was held in King’s Lynn, West Norfolk, from 5-12 April. Thirty-one members attended for the whole or part of the week. We were pleased to welcome Mr E. Warncke from Aarhus. The weather belied the fact that the area is one of the driest in the British Isles. Nevertheless nearly fifty new vice-county records were made, and the many bogs and fens provided a rich bryophyte flora. Excursions were made to localities selected primarily to show the range of vegetation types. All excursions were in v.-c. 28 unless stated otherwise.

6 April. Roydon Common, where the Norfolk Naturalists’ Trust own 141 acres of bog, fen and wet heath, was visited. Few places in the county are as rich in bryophytes and the occurrence of 14 species of Sphagnum was confirmed, including S. magellanicum and S. subsecundum var. subsecundum. True mosses included Campylopus introflexus, which is becoming increasingly frequent, Bryum bornholmense, Mnium pseudopunctatum, Philonotis fontana*, Drepanocladus revolvens, Acrocladium stramineum and Camptothecium nitens in small quantity. Among the many hepatics Riccardia multifida, R. latifrons, Mylia anomala, Cephalozia bicuspidata var. lammersiana*, C. connivens, C. macrostachya and Odontoschisma sphagni are evidence of the rich bog flora.

[* New v.-c. record throughout ]

After lunch a visit was paid to Ling Common, North Wootton, where the wet woodland yielded Tortula papillosa on birch, Plagiothecium sylvaticum*, and a second West Norfolk record for Ptilidium pulcherrimum, on an oak.

7 April. By gracious permission of Her Majesty the Queen, Sandringham Warren provided members with a good example of a very acid bog surrounded by Greensand hills and pine-covered heath. Here Cryptothallus mirabilis* was found in peat litter under Sphagnum recurvum and associated with Molinia, Betula sp. and Polytrichum commune. The areas of heath produced Dicranum spurium, further Campylopus introflexus, Ptilidium ciliare and Lophozia bicrenata*, whilst the wetter habitats contained Riccardia latifrons, Barbilophozia attenuata and Cephalozia macrostachya. In burrows in the Greensand cliff near the railway Schistostega pennata* and Calypogeia arguta* were found, and at the base of the cliffs Barbilophozia hatcheri and Scapania compacta* In grass by the railway Bryum rubens* occurred. Tortula virescens* with T. papillosa was discovered on an elm trunk near Sandringham House.

In the afternoon Ringstead Downs was visited. This locality is a glacial valley with chalk grassland and exposures of the Lower Chalk. Here a typical calcicolous flora includes Seligeria calcarea on chalk exposures, Pottia lanceolata, P. bryoides, P. recta, Phascum curvicollum, Barbula trifaria and Weissia crispa. Other mosses seen were Bryum argenteum var. lanatum*, B. rubens and B. ruderale*.

8 April. The morning was spent on Weeting Heath, an area of 343 acres of typical unspoilt Breckland heath and chalk grassland owned by the Norfolk Naturalists’ Trust. Many species characteristic of chalk grassland were found. Rhytidium rugosum is both widespread and abundant but Pleurochaete squarrosa occurs only in small quantity. Other species included Encalypta vulgaris, Pottia lanceolata, P. intermedia, P. bryoides, Barbula recurvirostra, Ephemerum serratum var. minutissimum*, Bryum micro-erythrocarpum*, Rhodobryum roseum, Thuidium abietinum, Ptilidium ciliare, Lophozia excisa, Barbilophozia barbata*, Cephaloziella hampeana* and Frullania tamarisci*.

In the afternoon a visit was paid to two of the Breckland meres, Ringmere and Langmere. Search failed to find Physcomitrium eurystomum, new to the British Isles when discovered in 1961, but this may have been submerged by the higher water present in Langmere. Climacium dendroides was frequent in the turf and Drepanocladus aduncus abundant in the water. Bare ground by the roadside near Ringmere yielded Pterygoneurum ovatum, P. lamellatum, Pottia lanceolata, P. intermedia, P. bryoides and Bryum ruderale. Riccia fluitans was found in a pool.

The Annual General Meeting was held at 8.30 p.m.

9 April. Although a free day was specified in the programme, members took advantage of permission to visit a large wood at Hockering in East Norfolk after first exploring Scarning Fen. This is a small but very calcareous fen owned by the Norfolk Naturalists’ Trust. Here they saw an abundance of Leiocolea rutheana which is confined in Britain to Norfolk. Metzgeria fruticulosa was found on Salix.

The outstanding finds at Hockering Wood (v.-c. 27) were Riccia rhenana* in the moat in the middle of the wood and Pohlia lutescens (see p. 443) on a bank nearby. This wood is one of the largest in mid-Norfolk, with a mixed population of deciduous and coniferous trees. Other finds here included Fissidens viridulus, Pleuridium acuminatum, Dicranum majus, Tetraphis pellucida, Bryum ruderale*, Isopterygium elegans, Plagiothecium curvifolium, P. sylvaticum*, Riccia glauca*, Ptilidium pulcherrimum*, Solenostoma crenulatum, Plectocolea hyalina*, and Plagiochila asplenioides var. major.

10 April. By kind permission of Lady Hastings, Swanton Novers Great Wood, which is on the boundary of East and West Norfolk, was visited. Many of the old oaks have been pollarded and considerable planting of conifers is now being carried out. Members found Fissidens viridulus, F. incurvus* (v.-c. 27), Pleuridium subulatum* (v.-c. 28), Dicranum majus, Gyroweisia tenuis in a culvert, Ephemerum serratum var. minutissimum* (v.-c. 27), Bryum sauteri* (v.-c. 28), Riccia warnstorfii* (v.-c. 28), R. glauca* (v.-c. 28), Fossombronia wondraczekii* (v.-c. 28) and Diplophyllum albicans.

11 April. In the morning members went to East Winch Common – a small area of peat overlying glacial gravel. Here were found Sphagnum subsecundum var. subsecundum, S. molle, Campylopus brevipilus, Bryum bornholmense, Hypnum imponens*, Cephaloziella hampeana and Odontoschisma sphagni.

In the afternoon some members visited the Nature Reserve at Holme-next-the-Sea but failed to find Petalophyllum ralfsii recorded from damp hollows in the dunes in 1957. Mosses of note were Tortula ruraliformis, Barbula revoluta, Brachythecium albicans and Eurhynchium megapolitanum

The enthusiasm of members was certainly not affected by the wet weather for, at the conclusion of each day’s excursion, several made journeys to outlying localities both in East and West Norfolk.

East Norfolk (v.-c. 27). A visit to Burton Heath yielded Riccardia multifida, R. latifrons*, Leiocolea rutheana, Cephaloziella elachista, C. hampeana*, C. starkei* and Cephalozia pleniceps. Near Coltishall Pleuridium subulatum* and Riccardia sinuata* were found. From walls by the river Wensum at Lyng and at Mill Street Fissidens crassipes*, Tortula marginata and Trichostomum sinuosum* were collected and Bryum klinggraeffii* was found on the river bank at Lyng. Nearby at Elsing Dicranella schreberana and Sphaerocarpos texanus were found.

West Norfolk (v.-c. 28). From Tatterford and Helhoughton: Fissidens crassipes, Gyroweisia tenuis, Zygodon viridissimus var. stirtonii* on elder, Orthotrichum cupulatum* on a bridge, O. pulchellum, Acrocladium cordifolium, Isopterygium elegans, Plagiothecium curvifolium*, Riccia rhenana* and Metzgeria fruticulosa. From Litcham Common: Plagiothecium ruthei and, in fallow fields nearby, Ditrichum cylindricum. From South Raynham: Eucladium verticillatum. From Hockham Rough: Tortula papillosa and, on a wall in Hockham, Barbula convoluta var. commutata*. From Burnham Overy Staithe: Tortella flavovirens var. flavovirens under planted pines and Hypnum cupressiforme var. lacunosum* from dunes. From the bank of the river Gaywood at Sugar Fen: Bryum pallens*

Any doubts the leader may have had concerning the bryophyte potential of Norfolk were quickly dispelled and he feels that, in some measure, members were rewarded for the long journeys undertaken by many to reach this somewhat remote area. He is grateful for their considerable help in adding many new records to the bryophyte section of the new Flora of Norfolk which it is hoped will be published in 1968.

E. L. Swann


King's Lynn