9 of us met on a calm autumn morning, many of us having driven along the Slad Valley admiring the beautiful autumn colours in the beechwoods. It was perfect bryologising weather, if a little dry.
We started with the Cotswold stone walls around the carpark, recording many of the usual calcicoles and other wall-dwellers (Didymodons, Tortula muralis, Syntrichia montana, Anomodon viticulosus, Tortella tortuosa, Porella platyphylla…). We then walked across a field (Sharon spotting Oxyrrhynchium speciosum en route) and into the (mainly beech) woodland. Here Marion was first to find Herzogiella seligeri, and Frullania tamarisci. There was a fair amount of the Herzogiella around on old tree stumps. We continued down the valley at normal bryological pace, reaching the stream at the bottom just in time for lunch (here new member Kelly (and partner) left to find somewhere to eat in the village – probably a good move as it can be overwhelming taking in all those new names). The rest of us sat on conveniently arranged felled trees to eat lunch.
In the afternoon we continued to the main stream where Sharon found some fruiting Platygyrium repens which was much admired. There was also fruiting Gyroweisia tenuis and Tortula subulata on a bridge, and Hygroamblystegium tenax and Rhynchostegiella teneriffae on rocks in the stream. Claire wandered off and found a small patch of Porella arboris-vitae on a stone wall whilst others found Encalypta, a Seligeria…? We followed the stream for a while, then through the wood (Campylophyllopsis calcarea on an oolitic rock, Sharon), then a path to a disused quarry where Pete, Sharon and Claire risked life and limb on the crumbling quarry faces while the rest of the group stood around chatting. Some people’s dedication is definitely highly questionable! Dicranellas varia and howei were found here, plus lots of Mesoptychia turbinata, some Eucladium verticillatum, fruiting Rhynchostegium murale and others.
By now it was 3 pm, so we took the direct route back to the cars, passing through some nice calcareous grassland where George spotted Flexitrichum gracile and Entodon concinnus, and Pete collected a couple of Weissias with immature capsules to grow on. At some point Gary disappeared without telling the leaders, but we did notice he wasn’t there when we got back to the car park 🙂