London Bryophyte Group: Lesnes Abbey Wood

HomeEventsLondon Bryophyte Group: Lesnes Abbey Wood

19 November 2023 (10:30 - 15:00)

Meeting report

Attended by Jeff Duckett, Leo Hunt, Lil Stevens, Jo Wilbraham, Tsvet Geogiev, Wendy Knowles, Liz Andrew, Robin Halpin, Anna Pick, James Brockbank, John Agar and Henry Miller

The London Bryophyte Group was in southeast London, VC 16, this time, exploring the parkland, ancient woodlands and ruins around Lesnes Abbey in Bexley. We met at Abbey Wood station and walked up to the park, stopping to admire an impressive population of Marchantia polymorpha along the edge of a footpath. This was particularly interesting because the male and female plants were growing in separate patches several metres apart, but the females had all produced sporophytes.

We then walked up into the woods, which were mainly oak, ash, holly and sweet chestnut. On the muddy banks by the path we saw fine Fissidens bryoides and F. taxifolius with sporophytes and Lophocolea heterophylla on the underside of a rotten log. Very careful examination of an ash tree revealed Myriocoleopsis (Cololejeunea) minutissima with its star-shaped perianths nestled amongst Zygodon viridissimus. Walking through the woods we found Campylopus introflexus growing at the base of a coppiced sweet chestnut and a lovely big patch of Lepidozia reptans that Henry spotted on a mound by the path. This liverwort is in rapid decline in the London area but was recorded here on a BBS excursion in 1994.

After lunch, we walked down the hill to the open parkland and the ruins of the Abbey, via an old tarmac pavement. Jeff showed us Syntrichia virescens, a tiny little moss with a slight red tinge to the midribs helping field identification, growing with Syntrichia latifolia. The walls of the ruins held an incredible variety of acrocarps, including Schistidium crassipilumOrthotrichum anomalum and a plethora of Pottiaceae species. We explored these until the light failed. As we made our way back to the station, Anna Pick found the tiny orange Octospora musci-muralis, a bryophilous fungus growing in a patch of Grimmia pulvinata on a garden wall, a new discovery for most of us at the end of an excellent day of bryologising with 40 mosses and 6 liverworts.

Lil Stevens, December 2023

Download the list of records

Meeting details

Meet at Abbey Wood station entrance (Elizabeth Line).

Please contact Leonora Hunt or Lil Stevens at to register an interest and for further details.


Abbey Wood Station, London, UK