Thursday, 27 March 2014

Field Meeting on Sunday April 6th at Great Merrible Wood

Our first vascular plant meeting for 2014 will be at Great Merrible Wood, a SSSI that is owned by the LRWT, and which lies in the Eye Brook Valley 4 km south-west of Uppingham in Rutland (OS map ref: SP 834962).  More information about the site including the parking location can obtained from the LRWT website.  Parking on the roadside verge at SP 831958 is limited, so please park considerately and do not block field gates etc. and be careful of traffic on the road. If you want to come, please indicate your intention on this Doodle poll, where you can also organise car sharing, so that we can get an idea of numbers attending.Meet at 2.00 p.m. at the entrance to the wood. We visit by kind permission of the LRWT.

Andy Lear surveyed the wood last year and concluded that it is secondary woodland dating from the early 19th century, and that most of the ancient woodland plants have colonized from the deep gulleys.  He thinks that the wood was originally parkland, possibly part of the historical Great Easton Park. In addition, the whole wood is underlain with medieval ridge and furrow, indicating an earlier period of cultivation.

We will not be recording flora in the wood, instead we will be visiting to appreciate a fine woodland in spring. It contains some Herb Paris (Paris quadrifolia) which  may be visible and which we can search for, as it is surprising difficult to see among dense stands of Dog's Mercury (Mercuralis perennis), plus some other woodland plants that are uncommon or scarce in VC55. Unfortunately, we will miss the lovely Violet Helleborine (Epipactis purpurata), as it flowers in July, but why not come back later in the season and search for it?


Dryopteris affinis (Golden Male Fern) in GMW.
Paris quadrifolia (Herb Paris)

Tuesday, 18 March 2014


Dimminsdale. Image: R. Rogers
Excellent crytogam meeting on Saturday: fifteen of us met at Dimminsdale, including Ivan Pedley, who kindly stepped in as leader and also guided us through beginner moss ID - yet again! 

It took us a while to get out of the car-park, as Ivan found a lichen on an ash tree which is only the second or third county record. But of course Ivan usually manages to do this! 

Polytrichum piliferum
Image: D. Nicholls
Because this wasn't a vascular plant recording meeting - and because the sun was shining - and because I'm hopeless at cryptogams - I didn't fill in a recording card and so can't give you any species names until Ivan sends in his lists - one for lichens and one for mosses. Sorry! 

Should've consulted Jonathan Mitchley's very helpful crib notes to families of Mosses.

Dimminsdale. Image: R. Rogers 
But this was the final cryptogam meeting of the winter, before we start focusing again on vascular plants, and there will be recording cards aplenty to fill in if we are going to cover the whole county ready for the third BSBI Atlas

Lunularia cruciata
Image: D. Nicholls
Well, we are a BSBI group and Spring is on its way :-) 

The next scheduled meeting isn't until April but I'm already dreaming of Violets and Wood Anemones and just can't wait, so am thinking of Doodling a sneaky woodland meeting before then to see what's coming through. Watch this space and let's head for the woods asap!

Thanks are due to both Richard Rogers and Dave Nicholls for allowing publication here of their images.

The VC55 mob gets close to the county limits...
Image: R. Rogers
Dave's images are usually all destined for his local recording website NatureSpot - and if you live in VC55 and haven't heard of NatureSpot, do take a look. 

If you live outside VC55 all I can say is, poor you - no sorry, I mean: maybe Dave can offer some pointers on how to set up something similar?

And my thanks to the wonderful Paul Stevens who gave me a lift to Dimminsdale and so made it possible for me to join the meeting. 

Monday, 10 March 2014

Meeting at Dimminsdale on Saturday

Please note change of location and start time for the next local group meeting. Organiser Uta says "The last of our three cryoptogam meetings will be held on Saturday, 15th March at 13.30 p.m. We will be visiting the LRWT's Dimminsdale Nature Reserve, which lies at the head of Staunton Harold Reservoir, near Calke Abbey, and will meet in the car park at SK378219.  Ivan Pedley, Leicestershire lichen expert and bryophyte recorder, has again kindly agreed to lead the meeting and we are looking forward to finding some interesting species at this site. It would help the organisers, if you would let us know whether you will be attending using this doodle poll, where you can also organise car sharing".