A small group of 7 – plus 2 friends – gathered along the lane outside the woods for this meeting. It was a lovely autumn day and great to be back and out looking at bryophytes again after the long dry summer. Friends were soon given hand lenses and some basic instruction and we walked along the track into the woods doing some revision of common species (Thamnobryum alopecurum and a couple of Pohlias – P. wahlenbergii and P. melanodon) as we went. We stopped to inspect the post where Pete had first recorded Platygyrium repens many years ago, but it had been taken over by Amblystegium serpens long ago, and there was no sign of Platygyrium here (fortunately Pete spotted some quite a lot further into the woods, so we know it is still around).
We continued along the footpath recording mainly epiphytes – a couple of Orthotrichums, Cryphaea heteromalla, both of the common Isotheciums, Hypnums… and Anomodon viticulosus. George scrambled down the bank to the stream and returned with a small collection including Cratoneuron filicinum, Pellia endiviifolia and Conocephalum conicum. Eventually the footpath descended to the stream and we were all able to admire the abundant Pellia endiviifolia doing it’s thing and not leaving much room for anything else! We did manage to find (we think) both Rhynchostegiella teneriffae and R. curviseta growing on rocks in the stream – although these can be tricky to tell apart.
One of the things this reserve is noted for is deposits of highly calcareous tufa in flushes along the stream banks and in the stream itself. We recorded Palustriella commutata and Eucladium verticillatum – both typical of this habitat.
At the far end of the reserve there is a man-made structure thought to be a sheep dip (from the time before the woodland was so extensive and the grassland was grazed by sheep). Didymodon spadiceus has been growing here for many years, and Pete was pleased to re-find it and show to the group.
Altogether we recorded over 80 bryophyte species, plus some bryophytic fungi (George) and a myxomycete (Claire). Alan could no doubt provide an extensive list of the fungi he spotted too!
There were a few species not recorded here before, but probably only because they’ve not been spotted: Bryoerythrophyllum recurvirostrum, Pohlia wahlenbergii and Ulota crispa s.str. Despite our best efforts, we didn’t manage to find any Cephalozia curvifolia which has previously been found on a few rotting logs along the stream. Worth keeping an eye out for if anyone returns – it would be good to know it’s still around.
All in all, it was a good start to the bryophyte season and thank you to everyone who came along for an enjoyable day.
Claire Halpin, 12 October 2022Download records