British bryological society cambridgeshire group




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BRITISH BRYOLOGICAL SOCIETY CAMBRIDGESHIRE GROUP


EXCURSIONS 2007-2008
Saturday 20 October: Wicken and Stretham, TL57SE & SW.
The rendezvous, Wicken church (57SE), produced 20 species, a low total for a medieval church; we recorded almost as many (19) from the cemetery opposite. On the east side of the cemetery was an arable strip which had not been cultivated in 2007; there were still numerous rather open patches of clay soil with much Pseudocrossidium hornschuchianum and abundantly fruiting Microbryum davallianum, a patch of Ephemerum recurvifolium and Rhynchostegium megapolitanum at the edge. The other three arable fields we visited during the day were wheat stubbles on peat or silt and were bryologically dire, with 0-5 species. We spent most of the warm, sunny afternoon walking along the R. Great Ouse to its confluence with the R. Cam (57SW). Vigorous patches of Amblystegium varium grew with patches of Leptodictyum riparium on the sheet metal piling at the edge of the river. Laura Spence spotted Bryum caespiticium on the railway, where the footpath crosses it, and then Robin led us down to an arable field on the east side of the railway which was flooded as part of an ‘organic’ pest-control regime. Here Riccia fluitans grew in shallow water, mixed with Ricciocarpos natans and on damp soil at the water’s edge, two surprising pioneer species. Rumex palustris also grew here. The Fish & Duck Marina produced little of interest. We made a final stop on the way home at Stretham Ferry Bridge, where we failed to refind Fontinalis antipyretica in the site where it was recorded by Ray in the early 1660s, but did get Eurhynchium speciosum on a felt of willow roots on the riverbank. We recorded just 49 species all day in this intensively farmed area of Fenland, but surprisingly these included several interesting plants. We made 16 additions to the 5-km squares, 8 to 57SE and 8 to 57SW.

Sunday 28 October: Castle Camps, TL64SW, and Westoe Farm, TL54SE.
Castle Camps churchyard, the meeting place, produced 27 species, the average total for the county’s churchyards. The best of these was Hygrohypnum luridum, growing on the flat surface of a grave surrounded by low kerbstones, a surprisingly open habitat for a plant which usually grows in shaded, often north-facing, sites. We were just about to drive on to Westoe when Jon Shanklin suggested we look at the banks and ditches of the deserted medieval settlement on the other side of the road. Appropriately, we found two “ancient countryside” species here, Neckera complanata on the base of an old field maple and Porella platyphylla on the base of a sycamore. Aphanorhegma patens grew on cattle-poached mud at the foot of a bank with a rather unusual associate, Microbryum floerkeanum; the Microbryum also grew higher on the bank on soil scraped bare by cattle slithering down the grassy slope.
We did then go on to Westoe Farm, where the aim was to record that small portion of the 5-km square which 54SE which lies in v.c. 29, and which does not appear to have been visited hitherto by a bryologist. The farm buildings and adjacent stubble field and the disused railway line nearby produced a good total of 56 species, more than we had seen all day on our excursion earlier in the month to the Wicken area. The plants seen included Weissia longifolia var. angustifolia under scrub on the railway line and a tiny scrap of Riccia sorocarpa in the stubble field; the stubble field extended 64SW where Chris Cheffings found a few more scraps of Riccia, this time R. glauca. On the way home we stopped at Bartlow church, 54NE, which provided 30 species.
Saturday 10 November: Elsworth church and Knapwell Wood, TL36SW.
Thirteen bryologists met at Elsworth church, including four attending their first excursion. Although our access to the church was hampered Community Service trench-diggers, Chris P slipped past them to refind Tortula marginata with Pseudocrossidium revolutum low down on oolitic limestone on the north wall of the church. We them went on to Knapwell Wood via Wood Farm, where Mark Hill demonstrated a mixed stand of Brachythecium albicans and B. mildeanum in the farmyard, and other ‘grots’ were recorded. Knapwell is an ancient woodland, mentioned in an early 12th century document as “the grove of Cnapwelle”, and soon after we entered it Graham French found a thriving patch of Placiochila asplenioides by the ride, in a slight depression which was still moist whereas most of the wood was dry. By it an eagle-eyed Chris Tipper spotted fruiting Plagiomnium undulatum, and we counted 30-40 stems with very young sporophytes in an area of about 30 x 30 cm. We had to search hard for other ancient woodland species, but eventually found one patch of Cirriphyllum piliferum, one of Eurhynchium striatum, a couple of adjacent field maples with Neckera complanata and two or three rotting stumps with Plagiothecium nemorale; we failed to find any Thuidium tamariscinum. Fallen leaves may have handicapped us but these species were clearly infrequent. The only calcifuge species we recorded was Mnium hornum – several seen on our last visit to the Wood in 1980 (including Atrichum undulatum, Aulacomnium androgynum, Orthodontium lineare, Plagiothecium curvifolium and Ptilidium pulcherrmum) were not refound. We did, however, add a suite of epiphytes to the list for the Wood (Cryphaea heteromalla, Orthotrichum affine, O. lyellii, Ulota bruchii, U. phyllantha, Zygodon conoideus and Frullania dilatata). We ended the day in Thorofare Lane, a broad and attractive trackway lined by broad hedges. The best find here was Aphanorhegma patens, growing with Pohlia melanodon on the sides of ruts on the grassy track. Also memorable was the notice on the side of a streamside building,
Confined spaces requiring routine entry are labelled to define category procedures for entry
although no members of the party were able to offer a convincing translation.
We saw 72 bryophyte species during the day, adding 20 to the 76 already recorded since 2000 in this 10-km square.
Sunday 25 November: Lattersey Local Nature Reserve, 29NE, and squares east of Whittlesey, 39NW & NE.
The Lattersey LNR is a group of disused brick and borrow pits which we first planned to visit in 2001, but then the Reserve was closed (with the rest of the countryside) because of Foot & Mouth Disease. We started in an area of wet willow scrub south of the road which had several epiphytes of interest including the liverworts Metzgeria fruticulosa (one patch seen after much searching) and Cololejeunea minutissima. The Cololejeunea, found by Robin Stevenson and present in some quantity on a single willow, was new to the county but it is a species we have been expecting to find for some years as it is spreading in eastern England. In drier areas there were some sandy soil banks with uncommon calcifuges (for Cambs) such as Dicranella heteromalla, Fissidens bryoides (the site also had the non-calcifuge species F. incurvus, F. taxifolius and F. viridulus) and Mnium hornum, the latter seen by Mary Ghullam. After lunch we looked briefly at the reserve north of the road but it offered little prospect of anything new so we went on to squares of 39NW and 39NE. Stops at Beggars’ Bridge, Turves and Glenthorn produced some useful additions to these squares, but nothing especially noteworthy.
Saturday 8 December: Tadlow (24NE) and Hatley Park (25SE).
We met in Tadlow on a wet morning and walked south to Tadlow Bridge. Simon Damant found Anomodon viticulosus on the base of an ash in the shelter belt woodland NE of the Bridge, and there was a single patch of Leucodon sciuroides on the bark of a medium-sized ash tree near the ‘Cam or Rhee’. As an epiphyte, Leucodon has only been recorded since 1950 in Cambs as an epiphyte on apples near Wisbech, although there are several records from old stonework. Syntrichia latifolia was fruiting on an elder by the river – this species rarely fruits although we found it (coincidentally or not?) with capsules just downstream at Croydon in 2005. Tadlow is, fortunately, Simon’s home village so we were able to eat our lunch in his kitchen and shelter from some heavy showers. IOnce we emerged, we went on to the church at Hatley St George (25SE), which is in rather an exposed position and therefore has few bryophytes. Unfortunately we were then delayed as the owner of Hatley Park, who planned to join us, was stuck in traffic in Cambridge. By the time we realised he wasn’t going to turn up, and made alternative arrangements, there was little daylight left. However, a walk round one of the ponds north of the road produced about 20 species and, although they were fairly ordinary, church and Park together raised the total for 5-km square 25SE from 97 to 103 species.
Sunday 13 January: Under-recorded Fenland.
We covered two under-recorded squares on this excursion, starting with 47NW at Sutton church. This large church produced an appropriately long list of 35 species, well above the county average. We went on to Great Spinney, Sutton, a grazed area with scattered elm trees which might have been more densely clumped before elm disease. Plagiomnium undulatum and Thamnobryum alopecurum, common in the south of the county but rare in the Fens, were both found, as was Syntrichia laevipila, fruiting on elm, and Zygodon conoideus, on a fallen branch. These two sites added 24 species to the 38 already known since 2000 from the square.
After lunch by the flooded washes at Sutton Gault we tackled 38NE. Chatteris church was urban and rather dull with just 22 species, but Meeks Cemetery (disused and Victorian in origin) was richer, with 29. We finished by walking along Fittenham’s Drain at The Gault, where Brachythecium mildeanum was fruiting in a grass ley with Drepanocladus aduncus and Homalothecium lutescens was surprisingly frequent for 100 yards of the grassy drain bank. Tortula acaulon var. schreberiana, rarely recorded in the vc but a rather dodgy variety, grew on the earthy bank of a smaller ditch. These rather mundane sites increased the total for this 5-km square from 28 to 46 species – getting a decent total from this square is proving to be quite a struggle!
Saturday 26 January: Duxford and the chalklands of south Cambs, TL44.
St John’s church, Duxford, TL478462, though redundant was in good repair. Despite the paucity of monuments in the churchyard it provided 37 species, including an abundance of Pseudocrossidium revolutum on the coping stones of the churchyard wall and Fissidens gracilifolius on crumbling masonry. As we drove away Mark spotted a thatched roof by The Green with an abundance of Bryum pallescens and deep tufts of Pohlia nutans, the latter a much less common species now than it was a generation ago.
First impressions of Crishall Grange Plantation were not encouraging – it seemed unlikely that this secondary woodland on chalky soil, much used for pheasant rearing, would provide much. In fact our first impressions were wrong. The epiphytes were reasonable (Cryphaea heteromalla, Ulota bruchii, Metzgeria fruticulosa, M. furcata and Orthotrichum stramineum, most of them on sycamore but the last spotted by Chris Tipper on Clematis vitalba) and decaying logs of beech and pine supported much Aulacomnium androgynum and a little Orthodontium lineare as well as one of the most remarkable finds on recent excursions, two small patches of Plagiothecium undulatum, found by Mark on a decaying Scots pine log. This is the first record of this calcifuge species in the county since 1999. The track through the wood and the nearby pheasant pen had Hennediella macrophylla on disturbed soil. Chris and Richard ventured into the SE block of the plantation to find it was a pure stand of a low rather tortuously branched tree with rather shiny bark, grey young twigs, later becoming deep green, and hairy buds – Laburnum anagyroides. Homalothecium sericeum and Neckera complanata, not seen elsewhere in the Plantation, were abundant on the lower trunks of some of these trees and Fissidens dubius, usually a chalk grassland species in Cambs., was present in pure tufts on several decaying Laburnum stumps. A single fruiting patch of Rhynchostegium megapolitanum was seen growing as an epiphyte on the Laburnum bark. We later discovered that C.C. Babington had noted that “the south-easterly point of the wood at Chrishall Grange is formed of Laburnum” when he visited it on 15 May 1852, but he didn’t include the species in his Flora of Cambs (1860) and so far my enquiries have failed to reveal any subsequent record from here. Our total for the Plantation was 44 species, compared to the 17 which Harold Whitehouse recorded on the only previous bryological visit to the site, on 14 February 1960.

At the end of the day we returned to Duxford and looked at Mill Lane (the Mill, unfortunately, was private) and St Peter’s churchyard; the latter only produced 20 species.


The Plantation added 19 species to the 64 known since 2000 from TL44SE and 5 species to the poorly recorded square in which we parked, TL44SW. We only added 6 species to the Duxford square, TL44NE, but we already had records of 97 species from there.
Sunday 10 February: Seventieth Anniversary excursion. Brinkley church, TL65SW, and Little Widgham Wood, TL65NE and SE.
Fourteen of us met at Brinkley church on a wonderfully sunny winter day. The churchyard is in almost ideal condition, not excessively tidy and with plenty of gravestones and monuments. The 35 species recorded included a couple of very uncommon plants, Hygrohypnum luridum (again, as at Castle Camps in October, in the open, this time on a low oolite kerb surrounded by grass which doubtless shades it in summer), and Tortula marginata, detected by Nick Jardine on heavily shaded brickwork at the foot of the north wall of the church.
We then went on to Little Widgham Wood, where the group’s first excursion had been held on 5 February 1938. Since then it has been coniferised, but it is not intensively managed. Stumps and decaying trunks of fallen conifers (some blown down in the gale of 1987) provided interesting calcifuge species such as Lepidozia reptans, Campylopus flexuosus, C. pyriformis, Herzogiella seligeri and Plagiothecium denticulatum, and Mark Hill found some scattered stems of Polytrichum juniperinum amongst much Campylopus introflexus on soil on the exposed root plate of a fallen conifer. Also of interest were Dicranum tauricum on willow bark and Fissidens bryoides and F. exilis on the ground. Having worked our way through the wood we looked carefully at its southern edge, the north side of the parish boundary ditch which separates it from Plunder Wood. Here there are many old field maples and a few ash trees, supporting frequent Neckera complanata. Porella platyphylla was frequent on one maple and very scarce on one ash, and a small patch of Plagiochila asplenioides was spotted on the south-facing ditch bank. As we were making our way back to the entrance of the wood Simon Damant, in a dramatic coup de théâtre, caught up with the party and showed us vigorous shoots of Plagiothecium undulatum from a large patch he had found on damp ground in an open area under brambles. In all we recorded 61 species in the wood, adding 19 to the list for the site but failing to record 16 species seen previously. We refound five of the eight species last seen on the inaugural excursion in 1938, including Neckera complanata and Porella platyphylla. The only habitat we had perhaps expected to see but did not was disturbed soil suitable for ephemeral species – there were no rutted rides and the numerous tracks made by fallow deer were too heavily trampled to mud to support any bryophytes.
There was time at the end of the day for a small celebration of our 70th anniversary. Mark cut a cake illustrated by a picture of one of our more memorable excursions (kindly provided by Robin and Wendy Stevenson), Chris Preston poured small tumblers of ‘fizz’ and Robin distributed commemorative fridge magnets. The day was an enjoyable and bryologically rewarding way of marking the Group’s birthday. Thanks are due to Mr W.J. Gredley for kindly giving us permission to revisit Little Widgham Wood on this occasion.
Sunday 24 February: Devil’s Ditch, TL56SE and 66SW.
The main aim of this excursion was to record the long (1.35 km) stretch of the Ditch in TL5963, so we walked rapidly from the meeting point by the A1303 to the north side of the A14(T). The TL5963 stretch has very subdued topography, with no N-facing slope, being in places little more than a S-facing chalk embankment. It has suffered from scrub encroachment but the scrub has now been cleared and the area is sheep-grazed. The characteristic acrocarpous mosses of the chalk were fruiting freely on open soil, and despite fairly dry conditions we found Ephemerum recurvifolium, Microbryum curvicolle (at the north end of this stretch, in the absence of M. rectum), M. davallianum (rare), M. rectum (for most of this stretch, in the absence of M. curvicolle), Pterygoneurum ovatum and Weissia controversa. Four patches of the Pterygoneurum were found by Simon Damant and Richard Fisk, a very welcome rediscovery of a declining species which was last seen on the Ditch in 1951. By contrast, the characteristic pleurocarpous mosses of the chalk were almost absent – we saw very little Calliergonella cuspidata and Homalothecium lutescens and no Campyliadelphus chrysophyllus, Ctenidium molluscum or Scleropodium purum. Richard Fisk found Seligeria calcarea on a chalk stone on the open slope – this is another species last seen on the Ditch in 1951, when it was found in this area. As usual, S. calycina was very frequent on stones both in the open and under scrub.
We went on to record the 100 m stretch of the Ditch in TL5863, where the Ditch has its normal steep profile and the higher plants are clearly richer (though this stretch did not seem to be grazed). Interestingly, Calliergonella cuspidata, Campyliadelphus chrysophyllus (a few stems), Ctenidium molluscum, Homalothecium lutescens and Scleropodium purum were all present here.
Though the day was rewarding it, not surprisingly, provided few new 5-km square records, just 6 additions to the 2000+ list for 56SE and one to 66SW, Frullania dilatata, found in a short scruffy stretch of the Ditch at TL600630 as we walked back.

Saturday 8 March: Orchards at Haddenham, TL47SE (report by Mark Hill and Robin Stevenson)
Present. Bryologists:- Stevenson (leader), Burton, Charman, Cheffings, Graham, Hartley, Hill, Moss, Shanklin, Tipper

Others Messrs Norman (father and son), Nigel Russell (Natural England), Val Perrin (Cambridgeshire Orchard Group)
The main purpose of the excursion was to record the orchard at 53 Aldreth Road, Haddenham, a commercial orchard with numerous old trees sustained under a Countryside Stewardship agreement. In the absence of Chris Preston, Robin Stevenson led the party, and we were guided by the proprietors, Messrs Norman father and son. Conditions for observing bryophytes were not ideal, as the weather was dry and windy, and all the epiphytes were accordingly curled up or shrivelled. Hypnum cupressiforme was, as usual, much the most abundant epiphyte on the older trees, together with good quantities of Brachythecium rutabulum and Dicranoweisia cirrata. Diligent searching by members of the large party soon revealed several epiphytes that would have been regarded as truly remarkable ten years ago, but are now to be expected in commercial orchards with old trees. The best find, by Robin Stevenson, was a single tuft of Orthotrichum stramineum. Other epiphytes were Brachythecium velutinum, Dicranum scoparium (found by Agneta Burton), Leskea polycarpa, Orthotrichum lyellii, Syntrichia papillosa, S. virescens c.fr., Frullania dilatata and Metzgeria furcata (found by Chris Cheffings). Christopher Tipper found a small yellowish Syntrichia with narrow leaf-apices of the shape recognized by Cambridge bryologists as ‘Syntrichia ruraliformis-ruralis intermediate’. The plant was tiny, not at all the beefy moss that on the ground so clearly overtops S. ruralis.
A breezy lunch was followed by a vigorous debate as to where we should go next. In the absence of previous orders, the possibilities seemed to be Coveney (surmised to be poorly recorded though it had been visited in 2004) and the River Ouse in TL47SE. Jon Shanklin spoke eloquently in favour of the river, and those who wanted to go somewhere new set off in that direction, leaving the others, led by Robin, to continue their diligent recording of the orchard.
The party remaining in the orchard recorded some good additional epiphytes, including Cryphaea heteromalla, Isothecium myosuroides and Ulota phyllantha. Syntrichia intermedia was found fruiting on apple. On the ground, they also found a few calcifuges not seen in the morning, notably Atrichum undulatum, Ceratodon purpureus and Dicranella heteromalla.

The River Ouse party drove down Hoghill Drove. It was a pig of a road, surfaced by concrete so shattered that cars could barely get down it and were in constant danger of grounding. Indeed, misfortune struck Guy Moss. His exhaust pipe came loose. It was rapidly bound up with electric wire (of which Chris Cheffings keeps a good quantity), but the Letchworth party thought it prudent to depart in search of a new exhaust. By this time the wind was remarkably strong, chilling the four remnants (Charman, Hartley, Hill and Shanklin). Initial impressions were dire. We did not see a single moss for the first hundred yards. Then we saw a patch of Brachythecium rutabulum. However, as we approached the river, a good stand of fruiting Eurhynchium speciosum by a ditch suggested that at least this would not be an excursion with ‘nul points’. Posts by the river produced Amblystegium humile (and sowed further doubt as to whether it is indeed distinct from A. varium, which we had on another excursion seen nearby by the Cam). Finally we examined a stretch of ditch running parallel to the river just north of its embankment. On the bank were Ceratodon purpureus (suggesting that the substrate was slightly acid though we did not check this), Dicranella schreberiana (fruiting copiously), Leptobryum pyriforme (with abundant tubers) and Riccardia chamedryfolia.


In the end, we added 24 species to the quadrant, bringing the post-1999 total to 74; which means that TL47SE can now be regarded as ‘adequately recorded’.
Sunday 30 March: West Wickham church, TL64SW, and Balsham Wood, TL54NE & 55SE.
The party for this excursion was very small – four of us started at West Wickham church and unfortunately for various reasons we failed to meet up with Jonathan Graham, who would have constituted a fifth. There was much disturbed ground in the churchyard and although our bryophyte list was a long one (31 species), it included few notable species. The most striking was Campylopus introflexus, present as numerous hedgehog-like tufts on the tile roof over the east end of the church. We went on to Balsham Wood, only visited on one earlier excursion (in 1981). Nine of the 15 species we recorded from the tiny portion of the wood in TL55SE were new to this 5-km square, which possesses no other ancient woodland. The main part of the Wood, in 54NE, had rather few oak standards but numerous impressive old coppice stools of ash; there was also much hazel coppice but field maple was rather scarce. Before long Nick Jardine and his daughter had to leave, reducing the party to just Mark Hill and Chris Preston. However, the conditions were ideal, with bright sunshine after a wet week which tempted brimstone and comma butterflies onto the wing, and we added 24 species to the 39 already known from the site. The six Orthotrichum species added to the list included O. speciosum, found by Mark as a few tufts growing on a single ash trunk with O. affine but rather taller, with gradually tapering leaves, more exserted capsules and a much hairier calyptra. This is the first record of the species from England since the mid 19th century, as during the period of high SO2 pollution it retreated to N.E. Scotland. Also found on a single ash trunk (but as over 100 tufts) was O. striatum, the third Cambs record. The ancient ash stools provided Anomodon viticulosus (on two stools) and Porella platyphylla (on one) – the vigorous masses of these plants contrasted with their rarity. Also of interest were two declining species, Rhytidiadelphus triquetrus (a small colony on a little-used ride) and Pohlia nutans (with Dicranella heteromalla at the base of a beech tree). The species found in this 5-km square added 8 to those recorded since 2000, taking the total to 112, one of the highest in the county.

Saturday 19 April: Wicken Fen NNR, TL57SE, 57SW & 56NW.
A large party (16 bryologists) started the day in St Edmund’s Fen (57SE), looking at one of the remaining stands of fen carr on the reserve. The carr, which had some pools of standing water, had a good epiphyte flora with an abundance of Radula complanata; other species included Bryum subelegans, Cryphaea heteromalla, Orthotrichum pulchellum, Ulota bruchii, U. phyllantha and (new to Wicken) Zygodon conoideus. However, we failed to find Cololejeunea or Microlejeunea which we thought we might stand a chance of discovering. Brachythecium rivulare, Fissidens adianthoides and Plagiomnium elatum were present in the ground layer, the latter much more frequent than P. undulatum.
We then crossed over to the Sedge Fen and walked down Gardiner’s Drove where we stopped to examine an area of the drove and the adjacent, traditionally managed fen (57SE). Almost the first moss which Richard Fisk picked up was Drepanocladus polygamus, which appeared to be frequent alongside the ditch, growing with Campylium stellatum var. protensum. This was last seen in Cambridgeshire near the Hide on the Sedge Fen in 1957. Mark Hill detected Campyliadelphus elodes in Richard’s material, an equally exciting rediscovery as it was last recorded at Wicken in 1953 and last seen in the county in 1957. Chris Cheffings found a clonal patch of Climacium dendroides in shallow water on some closely mown fen, its ‘canopy’ just emerging above the water level. This species has an erratic history at Wicken (seen in different places in 1930, 1979, 1980 and 1994), a pattern of recording which one would not expect for a large perennial moss. Robin Stevenson, although becoming increasing distracted by the need for lunch, nevertheless spotted Eurhynchium speciosum in a mown area towards the south end of the Drove, a species which was last recorded at Wicken in 1976. These records suggest that we have neglected the bryophytes of the fenland vegetation in recent decades, when we have concentrated on the scrub.
After a very comfortable lunch on a large stack of ‘litter’, we looked at Compartment 5 (57SE) and Compartment 2 (57SW, 56NW). We once used to fight our way into the scrub in these areas to look for calcifuge species, but the scrub was cleared about three years ago, leaving only stumps and (in Compartment 2) large pyres of cut wood. The area is now grazed by a small herd of ponies. Conspicuous small red patches of Bryum pallens were found in both compartments, initially by Mark Hill, growing on dead wood at ground level and on wet peaty mud. Rather surprisingly, this species has never been recorded at Wicken and it is rare in the county, recorded from four other sites and last seen in 1978. Bryum pseudotriquetrum and Eurhynchium speciosum were occasional and Calliergonella cuspidata was fruiting fairly freely. A small patch of Marchantia polymorpha, found by Mark on disturbed peat, was the first record from Wicken since 1972. This is another species which has been recorded at long intervals at Wicken, initially in 1930 after the great fire of 1929, then in 1957 and 1972, but as it is a ruderal this pattern is more understandable.
Owen Mountford, Pete Stroh and Kevin Walker joined us here and we were pleased to have Owen to lead us to the area of Compartment 2 where we had seen 6 species of Sphagnum in the pony-grazed but still intact scrub on our last visit to this area in 2003. There were no signs of this calcifuge flora now, and a scrappy piece of Thuidium tamariscinum was the only species previously associated with the ground flora of the scrub which we came across. A thin belt of scrub has been left alongside New Dyke but even in its heyday the calcifuge flora was not present alongside the dykes. The epiphytes in this scrub were less rich than those in the Poors’ Fen area, although Radula was again very frequent and Syntrichia ruralis, seen on an elder, was a mundane addition to the Wicken list.
In addition to the three species added to the Wicken list, we found nine species which had not been recorded in the NNR since 2000 and 18 additions to the recent totals for the three 5-km squares we visited, most of them (13) in 57SE.


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