Vice-county 15 (East Kent)

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Overview

The only bryophyte flora of the county was published in 1970 by A.G. Side and includes the records of the late Trudy Side. It can be downloaded from the Kent Field Club website (see Resources below).

Malcolm Watling provided the following notes on the Isle of Thanet for the benefit of aspiring or visiting bryologists.

The Isle of Thanet (TR26, TR36)

The north of this vice-county is within that part of the British Isles having the lowest rainfall. This very much determines the range and abundance of mosses and liverworts, which tend to be gradually reduced as one travels further east and north. Many common species come to the edge of their ranges and occur only in isolated pockets in slightly damper niches.

Thanet shows this tendency to the full; nevertheless, the district’s top bryo-site has records for 55 species. This is Monkton Nature Reserve (entrance at TR282655), a former chalk quarry which had begun to colonise naturally and is now owned by the Thanet Countryside Trust. Habitat management and development has produced a bio-oasis of which to be proud in an otherwise intensive agricultural landscape. Thuidium tamariscinum, very scarce in this corner of the county, lives here on a shady chalk grassland slope, but a single clump of Dicranum scoparium which once adorned a leached chalk mound has succumbed to longer grass and rabbit droppings!

A walk around the coast of Thanet on the Saxon Shore cycle route will bring the explorer to places with notable bryophytes. The sea wall from Reculver to Minnis Bay (TR2369 to TR2769) is a concrete structure built after the 1953 floods and has colonised with a selection of the more familiar coastal mosses. Westgate Pavilion (TR321704) has slipways on each side going down to the promenade; near the base of the western one where the grassy slope meets the short wall have been found Pterygoneuron ovatum and Tortula vahliana. Some virtually natural patches of chalk grassland exist on some pockets of the clifftops. A good example is at Whiteness (TR390711 to TR395708) near the Captain Digby pub, where Weissia condensa is present in a couple of locations. King George IV Park in north Ramsgate boasts the v-c records for Hennediella stanfordensis and T. vahliana. These were both found in root-protected hollows on child-eroded banks under the trees at the top of the park at TR392661. A little inland from here Ramsgate Cemetery (TR384660) has the second longest bryophyte list for Thanet; 49 species including a colony of Plagiomnium cuspidatum under trees at the north-western corner. Above the harbour on Madeira Walk (TR385648) is a small park with an artificial waterfall in which has been found Didymodon umbrosus and Rhynchostegium riparoides. This is, however, within a fenced area and not publicly accessible. On many parts of the coast a couple of local specialities can be seen; R. megapolitanum on grassy places and D. tophaceus on the chalk and cement-based substrata.

Malcolm Watling, date unknown

Resources you may find useful

Rose, F. 1949. A bryophyte flora of Kent. I. Introduction and ecology. Transactions of the British Bryological Society1, 202-210.

Rose, F. 1951a. A bryophyte flora of Kent. III. Musci. Transactions of the British Bryological Society1, 427-464.

Rose, F. 1951b. A bryophyte flora of Kent. Addenda to Part II: Hepaticae. Transactions of the British Bryological Society1, 464.

Rose, F. 1952. A bryophyte flora of Kent. IV. Addenda and corrigenda. Transactions of the British Bryological Society2, 51-52.

Side, A.G. 1970. An atlas of the bryophytes found in Kent. Transactions of the Kent Field Club, 4.

Available to download from the Kent Field Club website.

Access the download from the Kent Field Club website

Side, T. [A.G.]. 1977. The distribution of some previously under-recorded species of moss in Kent. Transactions of the Kent Field Club6, 143-150.

Access the download from the Kent Field Club website