A taxonomic workshop – bryophytes for beginners and intermediates – was held at the Rogate Study Centre over the weekend of 11-13 October, and led by June Chatfield, Alan Crundwell, Francis Rose and Rod Stern and attended by 22 participants.
The first morning, led by Francis Rose, was spent at Rondle Wood, north east of Rogate, investigating a sweet chestnut coppice, oak wood and sunken lane on acid sandy soil. The usual common mosses of acid woodland were found – Atrichum undulatum, Dicranella heteromalla, Dicranum scoparium, D. majus, Hypnum cupressiforme, H. jutlandicum, Mnium hornum, Orthodontium lineare, Pleurozium schreberi, Polytrichum formosum and Tetraphis pellucida. One of the more unusual finds was Leucobryum juniperoideum, occurring with the more common and somewhat larger L. glaucum on and around chestnut stools of the coppice. On more open ground by the path near the top of the scarp, heathland species occurred –Campylopus introflexus, Ceratodon purpureus, Pohlia nutans and Polytrichum juniperinum. The north grassy bank of the track running west had much Barbilophozia attenuata, Cephalozia connivens and C. lunulifolia.
A sandy sunken lane under beeches through Common Wood to the road at Harting Combe (41/815257) proved particularly rich in liverworts – Calypogeia muelleriana, Cephalozia bicuspidata, Diplophyllum albicans, Lepidozia reptans, Lophocolea bidentata and L. heterophylla. Francis Rose showed us an extensive patch of Bazzania trilobata, a liverwort rarely found in lowland England. It often associates with the moss Dicranum majus, and such was the case at Combe Wood. Plagiothecium undulatum was also found on this bank.
A late afternoon foray into the churchyard at Rogate yielded a different range of species including many of the smaller calcicole acrocarps – Barbula convoluta, B. revoluta, B. tophacea, B. trifaria, B. unguiculata, B. vinealis, Grimmia pulvinata and Tortula muralis. Hypnobryales on walls and in turf were: Brachythecium rutabulum. Eurhynchium praelongum, Homalothecium sericeum, Rhytidiadelphus squarrosus and Lunularia cruciata. The pteridophyte Selaginella kraussiana, a non-native species which looks like a moss, was present in turf.
On the sandy bank at the entrance gate to the Rogate Study Centre were some patches of the local Reboulia hemisphaerica, indicating a less acid soil here.
Sunday morning, led by Rod Stern, was spent on Iping Common seen in a mist, scenic with webs of spiders. The heathland had been severely affected by fire in 1976 and its bryophyte flora was still limited, but a rich flora remained intact in the bog in the valley below (41/850218). Sphagnum was particularly well represented at this site with eight species of different colour and growth form – S. compactum, S. papillosum, S. magellanicum, S. tenellum, S. recurvum var. mucronatum, S. cuspidatum, S. auriculatum and S. capillifolium with two other typical bog mosses – Aulacomnium palustre and Polytrichum commune. The Sphagnum cushions in the bog provided a good habitat for leafy liverworts – Kurzia pauciflora, Cladopodiella fluitans, Cephalozia macrostachya and Mylia anomala.
A final visit was made to Tullecombe Wood descending to wet woodland in Harting Combe. Woodland species of Sphagnum were found in an alder swamp – S. palustre, S. auriculatum and S. recurvum var. amblyphyllum. There were also lush growths of Plagiomnium undulatum and of the horsetail Equisetum sylvaticum in this habitat.
Within a short distance of the Study Centre, a good range of bryophyte habitats was found which kept up the variety in the species at each site. The Centre is owned by Kings College, London, and provides residence and excellent laboratory facilities: it is available for hire by parties and also runs its own programme of weekend field courses. For details contact The Rogate Study Centre, The Red House, Rogate, Nr Petersfield, GU31 5HN.