Vice-county 53 (South Lincolnshire)

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Getting involved

A small but enthusiastic group meet monthly between October and March at venues throughout Lincolnshire (v.-c. 53 & 54). Meetings are publicised via the Midlands Bryophyte group of the BBS and the Lincolnshire Naturalists’ Union’s Wildnews Bulletin (a weekly email service). Through the summer months bryophyte recording is carried out on Lincolnshire Naturalist Union field meetings, details of which can be found here.

A website maintained by the county recorder with meeting reports and some relevant literature for the county can be found here.

 A short report of notable bryophyte records is published annually in the Transactions of the Lincolnshire Naturalists’ Union.

A bryological tour through  Lincolnshire (v.-c.53 & 54)

…with Christine Rieser and Frank Lammiman (c. 2010). Updated and amended by Steven Heathcote (2021)

The land of the Yellow Bellies (regimental colours I believe, not birds or beasts) is the largest English county after Yorkshire, and is often perceived as a vast, flat expanse of mainly cultivated and improved land subject to drying winds from the east and polluting winds from the west. The average bryologist would not be drawn to come here looking for rare mosses or liverworts but in fact there is a wide variety of habitats in the county, and careful and persistent search has revealed some interesting species. The following discussion is largely underpinned by the distinct geological regions of the county, and an account of the geology of Lincolnshire is available here. Many of the sites mentioned below are owned or managed by the Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust (LWT).

When the travelogue was initially prepared by Frank and Christine, the return of epiphytes to the county was only starting to be documented. It is fairly remarkable that in 2020, many of the notable epiphytes they were documenting for the first time in many years are now fairly widespread and common in the county. It is also clear comparing old notes, photos and species lists, how many sites (excepting those managed by the LWT) have become more overgrown and scrubby since previous bryological records were made. Many sites appear to have lost notable species of open habitats, and it can only be hoped that if more open conditions return, these species will find a way back. A typical example would be two (of only three) county sites for Didymodon ferrugineus where the species was recorded in the early 2000s (Wilsford Road and Morkrey Wood) now hosting encroaching scrub and grassland with a thicker sward, with no sign of the species when searched for in 2018.

 

The Lincolnshire Coast

The long coastline offers maritime marsh supported by scrub and sand dunes with a fresh water marsh behind, long stretches of this being SSSI/NNR of interest particularly to botanists and bird watchers.

Saltfleetby-Theddlethorpe Dunes NNR and LWT Reserve. Rimac entrance TF467917

Once the site of three of the rare coastal species of Bryum, only B. warneum now persists at this site. It is present in good quantity in upper saltmarsh habitats where there is a high sandy component of the soil. B. knowltonii and B. marratti have been recorded here in the past and much suitable habitat persists so there is hope of rediscovery.

Gibraltar Point NNR and Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust Nature Reserve

The strongly coastal Tortula viridifolia is present here on of its very few east-coast stations.

Other coastal species noted by Frank & Christine: Climacium dendroides, Cryphaea heteromalla, Hennediella heimii, Hylocomium splendens, Hylocomiadelphus triquetrus (Rhytidiadelphus triquetrus), Syntrichia papillosa, Syntrichia laevipila, Syntrichia ruraliformis, Tortella flavovirens, Tortula viridifolia, Plenogemma phyllantha (Ulota phyllantha), Frullania dilatata.

Fen area and woodland

In the south of the county, inland from the coast is a large area of reclaimed fenland with extensive arable fields and drains. Stubble fields can provide a variety of arable species in the right season, and drain banks can support interesting species, best surveyed once the often rank vascular vegetation has been cut back. Small woodlands also persist in the Fens and are of some bryological interest.

Friskney Decoy Wood, LWT. TF464567

The wood is notable as the only Lincolnshire site for Herzogiella seligeri.

Cryphaea heteromalla, Fissidens incurvus, Herzogiella seligeri, Plenogemma phyllantha (Ulota phyllantha), Metzgeria fruticulosa

Wolds, Chalk Quarries and grassland

Across North-East Lincs lie the low rolling hills of the chalk Wolds, mostly overlain with boulder clay. There are many abandoned chalk quarries here, which support a good range of calcicoles, and woodlands to explore.

 Mill Hill Quarry, Claxby. Lincs Wildlife Trust. TF452716
Fir Hill Quarry, Little Cawthorpe, LWT. TF362828
Candlesby Hill Quarry, Welton-le-Marsh LWT. TF460582
N.Ormsby Pit (Private). TF289934
Bigby Old Quarry. TA059078
Tetford Hill Quarry (Private). TF330760

Aloina aloides, Aloina brevirostre (Bigby Old Quarry), Cryphaea heteromalla, Flexitrichum gracile (Ditrichum gracile), Eurhynchium pumilum, Fissidens incurvus, Fissidens viridulus, Microbryum curvicolle, Microbryum floerkeanum (Binbrook and Mill Hill), Microbryum starckeanum, Microbryum davallianum, Tortula protobryoides (Pottia bryoides) (N. Ormsby Pit), Mnium stellare (Fir Hill Quarry), Orthotrichum pulchellum, Hylocomiadelphus triquetrus (Rhytidiadelphus triquetrus), Seligeria calcarea, Trichostomum crispulum, Mesoptychia turbinata (Leiocolea turbinata) (Tetford Hill) and Metzgeria fruticulosa

Red Hill, (red chalk) grassland and quarry LWT. TF264806
Binbrook, chalk roadside field. TF222939
Binbrook, chalk roadside bank. TF197949

Ephemerum recurvifolium, Loeskeobryum brevirostre (Binbrook bank), Microbryum curvicolle, Microbryum floerkeanum, Microbryum davallianum, Tortula lindbergii (Tortula lanceola), Tortula caucasica (Tortula modica), Trichostomum crispulum.

Wolds, steep-sided chalk valleys

Hubbards Hills, R.Lud vale, Louth. TF316867, Public park

Anomodon viticulosus, Didymodon sinuosus, Neckera complanata, Rhynchostegium murale, Syntrichia latifolia, Syntrichia virescens

Swaby valley, LWT. TF390776

Cryphaea heteromalla, Ephemerum recurvifolium, Microbryum floerkeanum, Microbryum rectum, Orthotrichum pulchellum, Seligeria calcarea, S. calycina, Zygodon rupestris, Metzgeria fruticulosa, M. furcata, Radula complanata.

Tetford Hill Roadside Woodland. TF330760

Anomodon viticulosus, Neckera complanata, Porella platyphylla

Wolds, Woodlands on chalky boulder clay

Muckton Wood , LWT. TF382810
Hoplands Wood, Claxby-by-Alford. LWT. TF459718
Rigsby Wood. Rigsby-with-Ailby. LWT. TF421762

Hygroamblystegium tenax, Cryphaea heteromalla, Homalia trichomanoides, Isothecium myosuroides, Neckera complanata, Orthotrichum pulchellum, Plagiomnium ellipticum, Platygyrium repens, Rhynchostegium murale, Hylocomiadelphus triquetrus (Rhytidiadelphus triquetrus), Seligeria calycina, Scleropodium caespitans, Ulota bruchii, Plenogemma phyllantha (Ulota phyllantha), Zygodon conoideus, Z. viridissimus,
Aneura pinguis, Frullania dilatata, Mesoptychia turbinata (Leiocolea turbinata), Metzgeria fruticulosa, Plagiochila asplenioides, Radula complanata, Riccardia chamedryfolia.

Spilsby Sandstone

The more southerly area of the Wolds is on the Spilsby sandstone, which is not rich in bryophytes. Frullania tamarisci is found here at one of three VC54 sites, also Zygodon rupestris which is not common in the county. Snipe Dales has a large population of Dotted Hornwort, Anthroceros punctatus, one of only two populations in the county.

Snipe Dales Country Park LWT. TF330682
Sow Dales LWT. TF349666
Furze Hill LWT. TF346689

Heathy areas in clay vale with cover sands, west of the Wolds

One of Lincolnshire’s best bryophyte sites Linwood Warren located on the cover sands over the clay vale on the western edge of the Wolds. It has, until recently, supported the last remaining population of Dicranum spurium in the county. However, this species has not been seen since 2010, and recent searches have failed to relocate the colony. There are also extensive areas of wet heath with abundant Sphagnum.

Linwood Warren, LWT. TF133877

Dicranum bonjeanii, D. majus, D. spurium, Polytrichum longisetum, Sphagnum capillifolium ssp. capillifolium (only county station), Sphagnum compactum, S. inundatum, S. russowii (only county station), S. tenellum, Tetraphis pellucida, Cephalozia connivens, Gymnocolea inflata, Lophozia ventricosa, Ptilidium ciliare.

Walesby Moor. TF120911

Pulvigera lyellii (Orthotrichum lyellii), Ulota bruchii, Plenogemma phyllantha (Ulota phyllantha), Calypogeia fissa, C .muelleriana, Lepidozia reptans, Lophozia ventricosa.

Willingham Woods. Forestry Commission wood with open access. TF136884

Calypogeia fissa, Riccia fluitans

Areas of glacial sands and gravels, near Woodhall Spa

The clay valley to the West of the Wolds is in places overlain with acidic cover sands and elsewhere with more mildly acidic glacial sands and gravels as in the Woodhall Spa area, resulting in mildly acidic to mildly basic heathy areas.

(Mildly acidic, heathlands with some woods and wet areas)

Moor Farm, Kirkby on Bain LWT. TF226635
Kirkby Moor, Kirkby on Bain LWT. TF225629

Aulacomnium palustre, Dicranum bonjeanii, Leucobryum glaucum, Sphagnum spp., Tetraphis pellucida.
Cephalozia connivens, Fossombronia foveolata, Lepidozia reptans, Lophozia ventricosa, Pellia neesiana, Ptilidium ciliare, Riccardia chamedryfolia

Bardney small-leafed lime woods and Chambers Farm wood, on calcareous boulder clay, vale S.W. of the Wolds

The central clay area which is calcareous bears a group of woodlands known as the Bardney small-leafed lime woods, a good number of which form the Bardney Limewoods NNR. The woods do not support a high diversity of bryophytes, but support a few locally notable species in places.

Chambers Farm Wood. TF148739 Forestry Commission
Cocklode & Great West Wood. TF1076 Forestry Commission
Hardy Gang Wood. TF092751 Forestry Com

Other woods in this area:-Austacre Wd, College Wd, Newball Wd, Wickenby Wd

Dicranum flagellare (Hardy Gang), D. montanum, D. tauricum, Encalypta streptocarpa, (Austacre Wood) Fissidens exilis, Ulota bruchii, Plenogemma phyllantha (Ulota phyllantha)

Calypogeia arguta, Frullania dilatata, Fossombronia pusilla, Plagiochila asplenioides, Ptilidium pulcherrimum, Radula complanata, Riccia fluitans.

Ancaster Gap, limestone and gravels

To the west of the Ancholme valley there is a limestone ridge running from the South of the county in the Stamford area north to the Humber with two gaps at Ancaster and Lincoln filled by river gravel or sand. The Ironstone deposits mined for the Scunthorpe steel industry are associated with this ridge.

Copper Hill verge & Dukes Covert LWT. SK980422 Limestone.

Ctenidium molluscum, Encalypta streptocarpa, E. vulgaris, Weissia brachycarpa var .obliqua (W. microstoma)

Moor Closes LWT. SK982438 old wet pasture on sands & gravels

Climacium dendroides

Lincoln gap, river gravel and sand

Where the River Witham (and formerly the Trent) have cut through the limestone ridge at Lincoln, large areas of sand and gravel have been deposited, and most subsequently quarried. Much of the bryophyte interest no rests in areas of these quarries that have been left to restore naturally, although small fragments of original habitat do persist (such as the Little Heath at Whisby Nature Park with areas of wet and dry heath)

Skellinthorpe Old Wood. SK906722

Dicranum tauricum, Hylocomiadelphus triquetrus (Rhytidiadelphus triquetrus), Ulota bruchii
Plagiochila asplenioides, Ptilidium pulcherrimum

Whisby Nature Park. SK911663

Aloina aloides, Aulacomnium palustre, Fissidens adianthoides, Sphagnum (3spp)
Lophocolea semiteres

Swanholme N.R. SK946699

Aulacomnium palustre, Sphagnum ( 8 spp ), Ulota bruchii,
Chiloscyphus pallescens, Gymnocolea inflata, Lophocolea semiteres

Sleaford ballast pits, Fen edge clays & gravel. TF084447

Plagiomnium elatum, Plagiomnium ellipticum, Sphagnum spp.
Chiloscyphus pallescens, Riccardia chamedryfolia

Burton gravel pits, LWT. SK943740

Cryphaea heteromalla,
Chiloscyphus pallescens, Frullania dilatata.

Lincoln gap, river gravel and sand

Where the River Witham (and formerly the Trent) have cut through the limestone ridge at Lincoln, large areas of sand and gravel have been deposited, and most subsequently quarried. Much of the bryophyte interest no rests in areas of these quarries that have been left to restore naturally, although small fragments of original habitat do persist (such as the Little Heath at Whisby Nature Park with areas of wet and dry heath)

Skellinthorpe Old Wood. SK906722

Dicranum tauricum, Hylocomiadelphus triquetrus (Rhytidiadelphus triquetrus), Ulota bruchii
Plagiochila asplenioides, Ptilidium pulcherrimum

Whisby Nature Park. SK911663

Aloina aloides, Aulacomnium palustre, Fissidens adianthoides, Sphagnum (3spp)
Lophocolea semiteres

Swanholme N.R. SK946699

Aulacomnium palustre, Sphagnum ( 8 spp ), Ulota bruchii,
Chiloscyphus pallescens, Gymnocolea inflata, Lophocolea semiteres

Sleaford ballast pits, Fen edge clays & gravel. TF084447

Plagiomnium elatum, Plagiomnium ellipticum, Sphagnum spp.
Chiloscyphus pallescens, Riccardia chamedryfolia

Burton gravel pits, LWT. SK943740

Cryphaea heteromalla,

Chiloscyphus pallescens, Frullania dilatata.

Springs, fountains and blow wells

There are a number of springs, fountains and blow wells in areas of limestone that support a range of locally notable species.

Tetney Blow Wells, LWT. TA320012

Amblystegium tenax, Fontinalis antipyretica, Ulota bruchii, Plenogemma phyllantha (Ulota phyllantha)
Ricciocarpus natans,

Claxby Spring Roadside. TF450715

Amblystegium tenax, Eucladium verticillatum, Rhynchostegium murale, Rhynchostegiella tenella,

Other fountains at Worlaby, Syphel at Caistor

Rivers

The River Trent meets the Humber Estuary in Lincolnshire and at Trent Port, the epiphyte Orthotrichum sprucei was recorded on a large old willow by the river. This was the only county site for this uncommon species until the tree was lost in a flood event. We remain hopeful that the species will be re-discovered on other similar trees.

Trent Port, Marton. SK835816

Cinclidotus fontinaloides, Leskea polycarpa, Orthotrichum sprucei, Schistidium alpicola, Syntrichia latifolia

Acid sands, Isle of Axholme.

Laughton Forest, Peacocks Plantation, Owlet Plantation, Tuetoes Hill (mostly Forestry Commission), Scotton Common. LWT

Polytrichum strictum, P.longisetum, 5 spp. Sphagnum
Fossombronia foveolata, Solenostoma gracillimum (Jungermannia gracillima), Lophocolea semiteres, Ptilidium ciliare, Riccardia chamedryfolia, R.multifida.

Twigmoor. SE944057

3spp.Sphagnum, Lophozia ventricosa, Ptilidium ciliare

Messingham Sand Quarry , with calcareous fen LWT SE908032

Aulacomnium palustre, Bryum pseudotriquetrum, Sarmentypnum exannulatum (Warnstorfia exannulata, Drepanocladus exannulatus), Drepanocladus polygamus (Campylium polygamum), Philonotis calcarea, Sphagnum spp.
Aneura pinguis, Riccia fluitans

Peat bogs

Lowland raised bogs were once present at several sites in North Lincolnshire, exploited for the useful peat, a legacy retained in the name ‘turbary’. The largest area, at Crowle Moor is part of VC63 (South-west Yorkshire) despite being in the modern county of Lincolnshire.

Epworth Turbary, Raised bog relict LWT. SE758036

Sphagnum spp. Lophocolea semiteres

Crowle Moor, Raised peat bog, LWT.  SE759145 & SE756137

Aulacomnium palustre, Dicranella cerviculata, Drepanocladus aduncus, D. fluitans, Polytrichum strictum, P. longisetum, Sphagnum cuspidatum, S. papillosum & others.
Calypogeia muelleriana, Gymnocolea inflata

Limestone areas

The Lincolnshire Limestone runs north to south through the county, and supports a few areas of bryological interest. The private Grimsthorpe Estate is the only known county site to uncommon calcicoles, Abietinella abietina and Entodon concinnus.

Clapgate Pits LWT. SE961109

Didymodon rigidulus, Bryoerythrophyllum recurvirostrum, Encalypta streptocarpa, Fissidens adianthoides, Tortella tortuosa, Tortula subulata.

Rowland Pltn. SE961110

Rhodobryum roseum

Bagmoor Gullet (Open cast Ironstone, calcareous water). SE906167

Didymodon tophaceus, Bryum pseudotriquetrum, Palustriella falcata, Drepanocladus aduncus, Fissidens adianthoides

Morkery Wood. SK954194

Campylium stellatum, Encalypta streptocarpa, Calliergonella lindbergii, Ulota bruchii, Plenogemma phyllantha (Ulota phyllantha),

Frullania dilatata, Metzgeria fruticulosa

Resources you may find useful

Seaward, M.R.D. 1969. A bryophyte check-list for Lincolnshire. Lincoln: Lincolnshire Naturalists’ Union.

Seaward, M.R.D. 1971. Corrections and additions to ‘A bryophyte check-list for Lincolnshire’. Transactions of the Lincolnshire Naturalists’ Union, 17: 227.