Monday, 24 December 2018

New Year Plant Hunt 2019 in Leicester

Leics NYPH team last year, all ready
to start hunting
Let's hope it's warmer and drier this year!
Image: Jerry Clough
It's almost time for the 2019 New Year Plant Hunt! Yes ok there's a little thing called Christmas to get out of the way first...

This year the national New Year Plant Hunt runs from Saturday 29th December 2018 to Tuesday 1st January 2019. We plan to hold a Leicester Hunt on Saturday 29th December, assembling at 12.00 midday outside Morrison's supermarket, Aylestone Rd./Freemen's Common, Leicester

The free car parking outside Morrison's should be more than adequate and the supermarket is easily accessible by public transport. The postcode is LE2 7LT, grid ref SK 58809 02857.

We plan to follow a route (see map on left, click on it to enlarge it) heading southwards from Morrison's onto Counting House Rd., crossing over onto Freemens Common Rd., turning westwards onto Putney Road West which we will follow until it joins Aylestone Road. Then back up Putney Road, south onto Commercial Square/Ealing Rd and west again onto Chiswick Rd.  

There is a cafe at Morrison's so the plan is to head directly back to the supermarket at this point (probably around halfway through) to take a break and warm up with a hot drink and some cake. Then we can all decide if we want to explore the eastern side of Freemens Common, or head further westwards to the area near the football ground, or call it a day.

Will we find as many blooming plants as last year, when we had the BBC Countryfile team recording our recording efforts and we spotted 43 species flowering? Who knows (although I recce'd the route a few days ago and found at least two dozen species in bloom) but we'll have fun and there will be cake!

Please reply to this address and let us know if you hope to join us for the Hunt on 29th December.

Merry Christmas to all VC55 botanists!

Sunday, 18 November 2018

Bryophyte Meetings 2018-19

Bryophyte Meetings
Winter 2018 to Spring 2019

Here are all dates for the coming bryophyte season. These meetings are open for everyone with an interest in bryophytes. The field meetings start at 10:00 a.m. and take as long as people are interested, and as weather conditions allow, so it is always best to bring a packed lunch. Apart from weatherproof clothes, it is useful to bring a hand lens (x10 or x20) and some paper packets or small containers for collecting specimens. The BBS field guide (Mosses and Liverworts of Britain and Ireland: a Field-guide 2010) is very useful - the Field Key can be downloaded from the internet. Please contact Uta Hamzaoui (uta.hamzaoui@yahoo.de or 07852 682 790), if would like to take part and to organise car sharing.


Saturday, 19 January 2019

Great Merrible Wood Nature Reserve
Great Merrible Wood is an ancient woodland which is mostly managed with minimal intervention, and coppicing has been re-introduced in parts of it. Not many records exist from this site, but there is a variety of habitats such as old trees, some old coppice stools, ditches and streams, and it should be possible to find many interesting species, including epiphytes of course.
Meet at SP831958 and please park safely on the verge.

Saturday, 9 February 2019

Holywell Wood SSSI
This ancient woodland is owned by Loughborough University who have kindly given us permission for the visit. The university has set up six plots to carry out some research in the wood, and if we are lucky, Jon Millett, who is responsible for these, will be able to join us and explain the experiments.
Meet in the car park at SK511181. The entrance to the wood is at SK508182.

Saturday, 9 March 2019

Coombs Meadows Nature Reserve
This is one of the latest additions to LRWT's Nature Reserves. It consists of a number of small fields bounded by tall hedges on rather steep slopes. Some of the fields have been agriculturally improved but there are still springs and marshy areas as well as small streams. When the area was last surveyed for bryophytes in 1998, a good list was produced, which included rarities such as Riccia fluitans. which would be great to re-find.
Meet at SK775305 and please park safely on the verge.

Saturday, 6 April 2019

Tbc in 2019.

Indoor Meetings at The Old Mill, Leicestershire & Rutland offices
If there is enough interest, we will follow up the field meetings by indoor meetings, when we can use the microscopes and work together on the material collected in the field. Suggested dates are the Thursday after each field meeting, but this will be confirmed on the field meetings. They will be held at 7p.m. at the LRWT offices at The Old Mill, 9 Soar Lane, Leicester, LE3 5DE.

Wednesday, 22 August 2018

Fiedl Meeting at Brooksby

Our next field meeting will be held on Saturday, 25th August when we will record around Brooksby and Frisby on the Wreake, using some permissive paths that expire early next year. Meet by the footpath sign near the Brooksby College student car park at SK669162 at 10.30 a.m. Parking is limited but possible on the verge further north along Mill Lane at SK668164.

The paths cover three tetrads, SK61M, SK61S and SK61T, and we will record in all of them, but in a leisurely fashion with plenty of time to work on our ID skills. There is a good variety of late Asteraceae and aquatic plants in full flower, some of which may provide a basis for discussion.

The total walk will be 5-6 km. Access will be on public footpaths and public access land and will continue to around 3:00 p.m.There are no toilets available during this meeting and there is little cover. All food and drink will need to be provided and carried.


Booking is essential. If you would like to attend, please email Geoffrey or phone 07745 487766 to reserve a place.

Kind regards

Geoffrey Hall

Tuesday, 24 July 2018

Meeting on Saturday 25 July Cancelled

In view of the continued drought and the high temperatures forecast for this week, we have decided to cancel the meeting organised for Saturday 29th July. We may organise a substitute meeting in autumn, otherwise the next meeting will be Saturday 25th August.

Geoffrey and Russell

Wednesday, 13 June 2018

Field Meeting at British Gypsum, Barrow

Our next field meeting will be held on Saturday, 16th June at the British Gypsum Works, Barrow on Soar. The works are at the end of a 1 mile long drive off Paudy Lane between Seagrave and Barrow on Soar. Meet in the car park at SK595166 at 10.30 a.m. Please note that because of the size of the site and the one off nature of the opportunity to visit, the finish time is extended to 5 p.m.

The meeting will begin with a brief health and safety induction, and we will be escorted throughout our visit by Luke Menzel, Environmental Co-ordinator. This will be a unique opportunity to record in this otherwise inaccessible area, which includes the very interesting verges of Paudy Lane, a small lake and the wilder areas surrounding the works. We will record as much of monad SK5916 as we can, but in a leisurely fashion with plenty of time to work on our ID skills

Booking is absolutely essential and numbers are strictly limited. Please book by email to: russell.parry@gmail.com

Russell

Tuesday, 5 June 2018

Field Meeting at Thurlaston

Our next field meeting will be held in and around Thurlaston, where we will record an under-recorded tetrad which needs some more records for Atlas 2020. The first thing to mention is that this will be Thurlaston Carnival Day! Parking and access to parking may be tricky, but free cream teas are advertised! We will try to
meet at the junction of Church Street and Normanton Close, Thurlaston, LE9 7TA (SP502990) on Saturday 9th June at 10.30. a.m. – c.15.00 p.m.


There are 212 taxa in the tetrad SP59E that gave not been re-found since 2000, so we hope to find some of them. We will record as much of the tetrad as we can, but in a leisurely fashion with plenty of time to work on our ID skills. There is a good variety of grasses now in full flower, some of which may provide a basis for discussion!


Access will be on public footpaths and public access land and will continue to around 3:00 p.m.
There are no toilets available during this meeting, but it is fairly quiet and there is lots of cover! All food and drink will need to be provided and carried.

Booking is essential. If you would like to attend, please email russell.parry@gmail.com or phone 07594 302127 to reserve a place.

Kind regards
Russell Parry

Tuesday, 15 May 2018

Field Meeting at Mountsorrel

Our third field meeting of the year will be held around Mountsorrel. Please note that the meeting and parking directions are slightly amended due to new road works and a one way system. We will meet at the junction of Crown Lane and The Navins, Mountsorrel LE12 7AB (SK581148) on Saturday, 19th May at 10.30 a.m. By car, approach The Navins from Crown Lane, because The Navins is one way, north to south, and Watling Street is closed. Parking is to one side of The Navins or Watling Street.

We plan to hunt for some unusual and rare species recorded in the area, but not recently re-found there, and to explore the interesting network of old and new footpaths in the area. We will record for the monad, SK5814 and the tetrad SK51S, but in a leisurely fashion with plenty of time to work on our ID skills. We may finish the session with tea and cake at Granite’s.

The meeting is suitable for beginners and more experienced botanists, and will be a fairly leisurely afternoon with plenty of time to discuss what we find. Access will be on public footpaths and public access land and will continue to around 3:00 p.m. There are refreshment outlets in the village, but no public toilets at this meeting.

Booking is essential. If you would like to attend, please email russell.parry@gmail.com or phone 07594 302127 to reserve a place.

Best wishes

Russell

Thursday, 12 April 2018

First Vascular Plant Meeting for 2018

Dear Botanists

It is usually a good plan to start our season of meetings with a woodland search. So, by kind permission of Leicestershire and Rutland Wildlife Trust, we will visit Burrow Wood and other parts of the Charley Woods on Sunday, 15th April from 2 p.m. until approximately 5 p.m. We will park and meet in the Cat Hill Barn yard which is part of Rock Farm, LE12 9YB (by kind permission of Mr. Robert Moss). This is on the right at the end of a narrow lane which runs south from Charley Road at SK48361560 (2nd turning off Charley Road west of M1 bridge).

We hope to refind some of the county rarities as well as re-familiarising ourselves with the identification of some of the more common taxa after our memories have gathered the rust of a long winter. As well as making a record of all taxa found for inclusion in Atlas 2020 data, this meeting will give us time polish our ID skills including the challenge of identifying very young and very old material.

The meeting is suitable for beginners and more experienced botanists, and will be a fairly leisurely afternoon with plenty of time to discuss what we find.

Access is on public footpaths, but there will be some rougher exploring. Our planned route will be over a distance of perhaps a mile and will involve quite steep climbs and descents. As we have had a great deal of rain and quite a cold start to the season, it is likely to be muddy and slippery, but hopefully the worst of the cold and damp will be over.

Please note that there are no refreshment outlets or toilets available during this meeting.

If you would like more details or a lift, please phone Russell on 07594 302127 or Geoffrey on 07745 487766.

Geoffrey and Russell

Tuesday, 13 March 2018

Bryophyte Meeting at Charley Woods

Dear Botanists

There is a change of the date for the next bryophyte meeting which was planned for the 17th March. The meeting at Charley Wood will now be on Saturday 24th March, starting at 10am. We can park and meet in the yard of Rock Farm at SK47951509 which the farmer will kindly open for us in the morning. The Farm is situated to the east of Charley Wood and can be reached from Charley Road.


Charley Wood NR is adjacent to Charnwood Lodge NR at SK476147. It is made up of two woodlands, one of which is ancient woodland, and a field that is left unmanaged to allow natural regeneration of the woodland. The last survey was carried out in 1998 when many notable species were recorded, including several Charnwood Forest specialities, which we are trying to re-find.

These meetings are open to everyone with an interest in bryophytes. The field meetings take as long as weather conditions allow, so it is always best to bring a packed lunch. Apart from weatherproof clothes, it is useful to bring a hand lens (x10 or x20) and some paper packets or small containers for collecting specimens. The BBS field guide (Mosses and Liverworts of Britain and Ireland: a Field-guide, 2010) is very useful and can be downloaded from the BBS website.

If there is interest and we can agree on a date, we can have an indoor meeting in the following week. As you are now free next Saturday (!), you might want to go to Rachel Carter's workshop 'Introduction to Liverworts' on Saturday, 17 March 2018, at Pitsford Water Nature Reserve in Northamptonshire. There are still places free.

Apologies for not sticking to my original plans and I am hoping that some people are able to make it on the 24th. Please contact me (uta.hamzaoui@yahoo.de or 07852 682 790), if would like to take part, and to organise car sharing.

Uta Hamzaoui

Monday, 19 February 2018

The next Bryophyte field meeting.

Dear all,
The next local bryophyte meeting will be held at Tugby Wood on Saturday, 24 February. We will meet at the entrance to the wood at SK76820191 at 10 a.m. Please park safely somewhere along the road. The meeting will probably continue until about 3 p.m. There is a nice cafe nearby which we could visit afterwards.
Tugby Wood is a privately owned species-rich woodland in the Eye Brook Valley where we can see a good range of typical woodland species. The last bryophyte records are from
1996 and epiphytic species are conspicuously absent so we are likely to add some interesting species to the list.

These meetings are open to everyone with an interest in bryophytes. The field meetings take as long as weather conditions allow, so it is always best to bring a packed lunch. Apart from weatherproof clothes, it is useful to bring a hand lens (x10 or x20) and some paper packets or small containers for collecting specimens. The BBS field guide (Mosses and Liverworts of Britain and Ireland: a Field-guide 2010) is very useful and can be downloaded from the BBS website. Please contact me (uta.hamzaoui@yahoo.de or 07852 682 790), if would like to take part, and to organise car sharing.

If there is interest, there will be a follow up indoor meeting on Thursday, 1 March, where we can use the microscopes and work together on material collected in the field. Meet at 7 p.m. at the LRWT offices at The Old Mill, 9 Soar Lane, Leicester, LE3 5DE. Parking is on the lay-by opposite the office.

I would also like to let you know about a workshop on the introduction to liverworts run by Rachel Carter on Saturday, 17 March 2018, at Pitsford Water Nature Reserve. Rachel is the Northamptonshire recorder for bryophytes and has joined us on some of our local bryophyte meetings where her knowledge and patience with beginners has always been of great help. Rachel has also planned to join us on our coming meeting and I am sure that she will help us to produce a good list with some interesting species. 

Uta Hamzaoui

Friday, 16 February 2018

Winter twig ID meeting

You are invited to a winter twig ID session on Saturday 24th February at Charnwood Water, Loughborough, where c20 deciduous species can be found and apparently their twigs and buds are within reaching distance!

This meeting has been suggested by local member Richard Mabbutt who has recced the site and will lead the day's proceedings.

Please meet at 10.30am in the car park at the north end of Charnwood Water, Tuckers Road, off Beeches Road, Loughborough, LE11 2PH. Grid ref is SK546186. Map above right - click to enlarge it.

The meeting will continue until around 3.30 and then we may decide to head to a nearby cafe for a chance to peer at any specimens we've collected over a hot drink and a piece of cake.

Please could you email us at bsbivc55@gmail.com if you plan to come so we can issue you with the latest version of John Poland's key - he's due to publish his Winter Twigs book later this year so we are getting an advance copy of the key to road-test for him. You can just turn up on the day if you like but then you won't have your own copy of John's key!

There are two other winter twig ID keys available:

You can download this SRT key free of charge, courtesy of author Leif Bersweden.

You may also want to check out this ID key from the FSC which costs £6 - Richard will bring along a copy for you to use on the day.

As usual, dress for the weather, bring lunch and a flask, a handlens, a bag and secateurs if you want to collect specimens.

Hope to see you on the 24th!

Louise

Wednesday, 24 January 2018

Bryophyte Field Meeting

Our first local meeting of 2018 will be held at the Mountsorrel and Rothley Meadows Nature Reserve on Saturday, 27 January. Meet in the car park on Little Lane (SK58351495) at 10.30 a.m. This is a relatively new Trust Reserve, and there are no bryophyte records for this site so far. The Reserve lies to the west of the river Soar and consists of a mosaic of wetland habitats including wet woodland, shallow pools, wet grassland and swamp created from arable land. For further information about the Reserve, see the LRWT website.

These meetings are open to everyone with an interest in bryophytes. The field meetings take as long as weather conditions allow, so it is always best to bring a packed lunch. Apart from weatherproof clothes, it is useful to bring a hand lens (x10 or x20) and some paper packets or small containers for collecting specimens. The BBS field guide (Mosses and Liverworts of Britain and Ireland: a Field-guide 2010) is very useful and can be downloaded from  the BBS website. Please contact Uta (uta.hamzaoui@yahoo.de or 07852 682 790), if would like to take part, and to organise car sharing.
Uta Hamzaoui

Saturday, 20 January 2018

Two Dates for Your Diary

The VC55 team in Leicester, ready to
start their New Year Plant Hunt
Image: J. Clough
First, a note to remind you that the local vc55 botany group’s New Year Plant Hunt will be featured on BBC1’s Countryfile programme tomorrow evening, Sunday 21st, scheduled to start at 6:30 p.m.  and available afterwards via iPlayer. It also features botanical research at the University of Leicester and nature conservation activities at Rutland Water Nature Reserve that involve the local community.

Second, the annual Wildlife Recording Conference, organised by the LRWT, will be held on Sunday 25th February from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Rothley Centre, Mountsorrel Lane, Rothley. If you’ve not been before, the event is a good opportunity to find out what is going on in the local natural history scene and to meet other naturalists. The event is free, but attendees must book a place beforehand by contacting Nathalie Cossa (email: ncossa@lrwt.org.uk or telephone 0116 248 7362). Further details and a programme of speakers can be found on the LRWT website. 

Hope you enjoy watching the group’s moment in the limelight and that you can come to the Conference.

Geoffrey