Worcestershire Record No. 17 November 2004 p. 46-51


Tessa Carrick

After searching throughout Worcestershire, it was decided that the best venue would be in the Malvern area and that visitors would be asked to book bed and breakfast accommodation. Eventually, the Christian Conference Centre in Malvern Link accommodated twenty people and provided meeting rooms. The Conference Centre proved ideal as there were spare dining tables for evening microscope work. (Other groups may find this a convenient place for visitors to the county to stay at a reasonable cost.) On most evenings members met in the Foley Arms in Great Malvern and the Council Meeting was held there on Saturday evening.

Worcestershire bryophytes have been under-recorded in the past, for it has been unjustly neglected since the days of J.B. Duncan in the first quarter of the 20th century (see, for instance, Duncan, 1911). During the seventies and early eighties Richard Fisk was actively recording in the county and David Holyoak spent a year in the county in the early 90s. The planning team (Tessa Carrick, Harry Green, Lorna Fraser, Ann Hill, Mark Lawley, Joy Ricketts and Rosemary Winnall) had many pleasurable outings during the two years prior to the meeting, selecting sites for the BBS visits. We scrambled through woodland the day after a violent storm. We saw the Wyre Forest in every kind of weather including one dark, wintry day reconnoitring sites as the snow fell. On our hunts we added to the site species lists for the county and found a number of new or bracketed species. However, during the BBS week 10 new records were added and 8 more were de-bracketed for Worcestershire (VC37) with two others still to be confirmed and two new and two de-bracketings for Staffordshire (VC39). We also added to the species lists for Shropshire (VC40) on two days. (Note: if a species had not been recorded in a vice county since 1950 the vice county number – VC37 for Worcestershire - was placed in brackets in the Census Catalogue, Blockeel & Long 1998. Therefore any species re-discovered since then is said to have been “de-bracketed”).

The meeting followed a long, dry spell, so the weather forecast for rain was welcome. It turned out to be a typical April week with very pleasant periods broken by short, sharp storms.

The attendance during the BBS spring meeting was extremely pleasing with more than sixty people being present at some time during the week. Michelle Price travelled from Switzerland and Niklas Lönnell came from Sweden. On the first evening over twenty people met together for an evening meal in the Foley Arms. Throughout the week, the many very experienced members were in the field alongside much less knowledgeable people including several representatives from the informal Worcestershire bryology group and a contingent from the Avon Wildlife Trust. Those present for at least part of the meeting were: Ken Adams, David Antrobus, Dave Barnett, Jeff Bates, Neil Bell, Sam Bosanquet, Tom Blockeel, Tessa Carrick, Rachel Carter, Gill Davis, John Day, Diane Dobson, Joan Egan, Richard Fisk, Lorna Fraser, Polly Glazebrook, Mary Ghullam, Harry Green, Andy Groves, Sally Haseman, Ann Hill, Mark Hill, Nick Hodgetts, Rita Holmes, David Holyoak, Joan James, Roy Jeffery, Telva Jenkins, Elizabeth Kungu, Frank Lammiman, Jill Lang, Richard Lansdown, Mark Lawley, David Long, Niklas Lönnell, Graham Motley, John Mott, Angela Newton, Brian O’Shea, Tim Pankhurst, Jean Paton, Niklas Pedersen, Mark Pool, Ron Porley, Chris Preston, Carol Price, Michelle Price, Rebecca Price, Joy Ricketts, Christine Rieser, Gordon Rothero, David Rycroft, Jonathan Sleath, Justin Smith, Leslie Smith, Rod Stern, Mike Walton, Lorraine Weaver, Rosemary Winnall, Jacqueline Wright and Marcus Yeo.

Thursday 1st April: This day twenty-two people drove northwards to Wissetts Wood (SO6772), a private deciduous woodland on the western edge of the county. The 46.6 hectares of woodland are part of the Shakenhurst Estate, owned by the Severn family. The woodland is semi-natural, classed as NVC W10 and W8, with both acid and more calcareous components, over mudstone. There are some calcareous sandstone outcrops close to the main stream, the Mill Brook. The county boundary with Shropshire runs along the Shakenhurst Brook on the western boundary. The streams and their humid valleys were of major interest, with their boulders, bridges and their side flushes.

The woodland was at its best with wood anemones and wood sorrel both out and with occasional plants of Adoxa moschatellina. The overcast weather and the occasional sharp shower did not spoil our day as we were led by Ann Hill on a circular route through the woods, visiting both streams on the way. We lunched together, sitting on felled logs.

Platygyrium repens was re-recorded here, on this occasion fruiting abundantly but also including male shoots– male plants were also newly found later in the week in Death’s Dingle and at other sites. This species was first recorded in VC37 at Wissetts Wood during 2003. On a rock in the Shakenhurst Brook, Mark Pool (Membership Secreary of BBS and from Devon) made a new record of Trichostomum tenuirostre var. tenuirostre. Seventy species of moss were noted.

This was a favourable site for liverworts with twenty-four species being found, so it was particularly good to have the national liverwort expert Jean Paton with us to confirm identifications. Cephaloziella divaricata was found on a path by Ann Hill and, on tufa beside the Mill Brook, Mary Ghullam (from Norfolk) discovered Jungermannia atrovirens. Eight of these liverwort species, including the Plagiochila britannica, had not been recorded in Wissetts Wood previously.

The majority of the party remained in Worcestershire, but Mark Lawley went off into Shropshire, his home county, as he had not been to that part of the wood previously. He, too, had a good day, noting sixteen species of liverwort and over 40 mosses.

On the return journey, small groups stopped to record at other sites. At Ham Bridge on the River Teme (SO7361) one group found Leskea polycarpa and Cryphaea heteromalla. Cryphaea heteromalla was also recorded on a willow at the impressive Southstone Rock in Rock Coppice (SO 710640). Richard Fisk (formerly of Worcestershire but now resident in East Anglia) took this opportunity to look at a stubble field nearby and noted ten species.

The Threatened Bryophytes Database group met during the afternoon and included JNCC and Plantlife representatives.

In the evening about thirty people assembled in the Conference Centre to hear Harry Green introducing Worcestershire with a very useful talk illustrated by overhead transparencies and slides. Afterwards, as people departed for their various abodes, there was a terrific downpour. Most of those staying in the Conference Centre spent time following up the day’s finds, grateful not to need to face the rain.

Friday 2nd April: The Wyre Forest

The Wyre Forest occupies about 3000 hectares, situated partly in Worcestershire and partly in Shropshire (VC40) with a small section in Staffordshire (VC39). Very little attention has been given to the bryophytes although the BBS made a brief visit during the 1959 Birmingham BBS meeting (Paton, 1960). Some work has been done by a University of Birmingham Extramural group (Green and Clarke, 1962) although their records are not recorded in the current census catalogue (Blockeel and Long, 1998), Sphagnum quinquefarium, for instance, remaining bracketed. Hawksworth and Rose (1969) also refer to bryophytes of Wyre.

As the more interesting sites in the Wyre Forest are mostly fairly narrow, relatively delicate valleys, it was decided to split the party in to five groups, each with a different local leader. Access had been arranged with the Forestry Commission, English Nature, the Guild of St. George, and individual landowners. Most of the sites chosen had not been studied bryologically until the recces preparing for the BBS visit.

Harry Green took some of the leading British bryologists Mark Hill, Ron Porley, David Holyoak and Chris Preston to Gladder Brook (SO786714), a steep-sided and shaded valley, and to the banks of the Severn nearby (SO786734). The stream is mentioned for its bryophytes in Amphlett and Rea (1909). This group of eminent bryologists debated whether they had found Pellia neesiana which would have been a debracketed species – disappointingly, when examined carefully it turned out to be the common species Pellia epiphylla. However, they did find twenty-three species of liverwort including a new VC37 record, the rare male gametophyte of Porella cordaeana, on the lower bole of an ash tree above the Gladder, and also Blepharostoma trichophyllum on a small ledge (SO78267179) in sandstone rock, in the ravine above the stream. Of the sixty or so mosses, Plagiothecium latebricola was of particular note (SO779721). By the River Severn, Mark Hill recorded the often overlooked Brachythecium mildeanum which was later found at other sites within the county.

Mark Lawley took a small group to the wet area of Hawksbatch and Seckley Ravine section of the Wyre Forest and the nearby bank of the Severn (SO7677), all in VC39. Seckley Wood is frequently mentioned in Amphlett and Rea. Twenty liverwort species were found in all. At the riverside Hennediella stanfordensis was newly recorded for VC39 and Orthotrichum sprucei was a debracketed species. In the ravine, Zygodon rupestris was a new VC39 record and Orthotrichum stramineum was another de-bracketing. A combination of difficult terrain and group enthusiasm made this group very late in returning to Malvern.

A third group went on their own to Baveney Brook (SO7076), part of the Wyre Forest which lies in Shropshire (VC40) and is privately owned by Messrs Brown and Butler. The BBS group parked at the Furnace Mill Fisheries and worked up the stream. They examined their finds very carefully which meant that only part of the brook was covered and it is likely that more species are yet to be found at this site. Their finds included Trichocolea tomentella.

A larger party was led by Rosemary Winnall, who has lived and worked in the Wyre Forest. This group went to Park Brook (SO7576, VC39), a fairly steep, wooded steam valley, with base-rich flushes and calcareous rocks, lying in the heart of the Wyre Forest. Jean Paton’s presence was invaluable as 30 species of liverwort were recorded in this very rich valley. Species of hepatics included Bazzania trilobata, Jungermannia pumila, Leiocolea turbinata, Lejeunea lamacerina, Ptilidium pulcherrimum, Saccogyna viticulosa, Scapania nemorea, S. undulata, and Trichocolea tomentella. Among the mosses were Bryum pseudotriquetrum, B. subapiculatum, Eucladium verticillatum, Hookeria lucens, Leucobryum glaucum, L. juniperoideum, Trichostomum brachydontium and T. crispulum.

This group went on to the Great Bog (SO7476, VC37), which is notable within Worcestershire for the presence of four species of Sphagnum, S. fimbriatum, S. inundatum (recorded by David Long at SO747762), S. palustre and S. subnitens. Richard Fisk found Entosthodon obtusus on wet clay at the edge of a track at SO 746762. This is a de-bracketing for VC37. The group also recorded from part of the old railway track at SO7576.

The final group, led by Tessa Carrick followed a circular route along the Hitterhill Valley (starting at SO770763, VC37), Lodgehill Farm, Knowles Coppice and the railway track. In the upper part of Hitterhill valley, Ruskin had experimental fishponds and above this he built homes with sufficient land for the residents to be self-sustaining – they would need to be as they are deep in the woodland. The land now belongs to the Guild of St. George. Dave Barnett, who keeps an eye on the Hitterhill site, joined the group and pointed out a damp region above the valley where two species of Sphagnum occurred. Among the twenty-five recorded species of liverwort was Bazzania trilobata including a plant growing on rhododendron. Other liverworts included Barbilophozia attenuata, Calypogeia muelleriana, Jungermannia pumila, J. gracillima, Lejeunea lamacerina, Lepidozia reptans, Nowellia curvifolia, Riccardia chamaedryfolia, Saccogyna viticilosa, Scapania nemorea and S. undulata. The mosses included a new record for VC37, Bryum bornholmense, found by Rod Stern (from SE England) on soil in an open area at SO765765. Both species of Leucobryum were identified and Platygyrium repens was again recorded as well as Bryum microerythrocarpum, Fissidens dubius and plenty of fruiting Hookeria lucens. Sam Bosanquet (who works for Countryside for Wales) and Mark Pool both thought this a likely site for Fissidens celticus which has not been recorded in VC37, but despite intensive searching they did not find it.

Nothing outstanding was recorded from the anthills and bridge at Lodge Hill Farm (SO7576, VC37), but there was more of interest on the Worcestershire Wildlife Trust reserve Knowles Coppice (SO7576, VC37), where a few of the more agile clambered down the very steep slope to the bank of the Dowles Brook. Here were more Bazzania trilobata, Calypogeia muelleriana, Lepidozia reptans, Saccogyna viticulosa and Scapania undulata and also Jungermannia atrovirens along with mosses Eucladium verticillatum, Hookeria lucens and Neckera crispa. A little further along the circuit, on the banks of the old railway route, in a wet flush, Sam Bosanquet and Mark Pool found Sphagnum capillifolium (a new VCR) and S. quinquefarium (a de-bracketing) (the latter still to be confirmed) in addition to the more usual S. fimbriatum and S. subnitens, all at SO761765.

At the end of the day everyone seemed most pleased with the day. Splitting the group had worked well and resulted in a much better coverage of some more interesting parts of the Wyre Forest. The weather had been pleasant generally, although the Park Brook group experienced a hailstorm. People returned with plenty of packets and bubbling with enthusiasm, if a little tired and bedraggled. During the evening new faces appeared, joining the meeting for the weekend.

Late in the afternoon, the Conservation and Recording Committee met at the Conference Centre under the chairmanship of Mark Hill.

Saturday 3rd April: The Malvern Hills

Records from 1868 exist for the Malverns (Lees, 1868) but little recording has been done since until recently.

At the start of the day about fifty people assembled in the car park at the foot of the Herefordshire Beacon, otherwise known as British Camp. Most climbed the hill, keeping within the boundary of VC37 on the east side. The views westwards towards Wales and east across the Severn plain were good.

Early on the party scattered over the hillside, peering down rabbit holes to search for Schistostega pennata. -There were several holes with a good growth in them and the angle of the sun was perfect so that the mosses glowed. -Eight-eight year old Frank Lammiman from Lincolnshire was heard to say, “This is what I came to see.”

When it was mentioned at the 2003 Norfolk Spring Meeting that Buxbaumia aphylla had recently been found in Worcestershire by Joy Ricketts, it was clear that no-one thought we would find it again fruiting. But, there it was at SO7639, on the crumbling soil alongside the foot path, in two patches with four and eight capsules visible. This was probably the greatest find of the week and, with great excitement, a series of bryologists lay on their sides on the path to photograph the capsules. Most people had not seen this species previously or had done so only outside Britain. The Malvern Conservators have now been advised of its presence and asked to ensure that the edge of the path is not damaged. Nearby, Tom Blockeel and Richard Lansdown found Pleuridium acuminatum on the trackside and Zygodon viridissimus var. viridissimus occurred on elder.

Buxbaumia aphylla                 Photos (C) D T Holyoak

Further on, Grimmia trichophylla was found on a rock on Hangman’s Hill, but more exciting was the occurrence close together on another rock of Grimmia laevigata and a good growth of Pterogonium gracile. At the base of the same rock Spring Cinquefoil (Potentilla neumanniana) was in flower. The group recorded species from further afield on the east side of Herefordshire Beacon and found nine species of liverwort, a surprising number for a Malvern habitat.

About thirty of us lunched together on the bank beside the car park and then smaller groups dispersed in different directions. Lorna Fraser and Diane Dobson (from East Anglia) went off to confirm that Hedwigia ciliata var. ciliata was still to be found in SO7744. Others, led by Mark Lawley, scoured the floor of a quarry on Worcestershire Beacon (SO769412) and among other things found David Long (from the Edinburgh Botanical Gardens) discovered a Fossombronia which he took to cultivate and when he did so it confirmed his suspicion that it was F. incurva, another new vice-county record. Also found were Ptychomitrium polyphyllum and Tortella tortuosa which are not often found in VC37.

John Day, a local naturalist, took a small group to a damp region (SO7839/7939) of the extensive Castlemorton Common, a favorite site for Midlands naturalists. This area proved interesting, yielding Pseudephemerum nitidum along with Pleuridium acuminatum in a flush of Juncus effusus and Juncus articulatus as well as a new VC37 record Syntrichia laevipila var. laevipilaeformis (found by Mark Pool and Richard Lansdown from Wales). Bryum bornholmense also turned up again in this habitat.

Other parts of the Common and hills were covered during the afternoon as well as Park Wood to the west of Worcestershire Beacon. Park Wood has limestone outcrops and Frank Lammiman and Christine Rieser recorded Ctenidium molluscum and Neckera complanata. Meanwhile, Mark Hill recorded the species on two “very dull” arable fields.

Sunday 4th April: Bredon Hill

The party gathered at the car park by Woollas Hall Farm, SO 945409 (VC37), and forty-seven people set off along the winding path towards the woodland at the foot of the northern scarp slope of Bredon Hill. The woodlands included a mixture of deciduous species and a pond. They give way to uneven grassland which in turn leads to steeper, often slumping grassland with exposed limestone rocks of varying sizes. Every rock seems to have a different bryophytic flora. Part of the slope is an English Nature Reserve and includes an ancient slithery, muddy slump which all negotiated safely. Indeed, the more gently but wet sloping grass below proved more hazardous. From the top of the hill, which reaches 299 metres, there were excellent views of the Severn and Avon plains, with the Malverns and the Abberleys to the west and the Clents and the Lickey Hills visible to the north.

It was a cold, blustery day, with occasional sharp rainstorms, sometimes including hail. As the clouds approached dramatically from the west and shed their rain, the panorama became progressively obliterated and then reappeared. Most people ate lunch in a sheltered hollow near the top for lunch and others huddled behind large boulders.

On the more grassy slopes, the first cowslips were opening. There were very few liverworts on Bredon Hill but Lophozia excisa was found by Sam Bosanquet, identified by Jean Paton. David Long recorded Porella platyphylla at SO952399 and Scapania aspera was found in the turf. Other bryological highlights included Rhodobryum roseum on an anthill below a small limestone exposure. Everyone admired extensive banks of Rhytidiadelphus triquetrus, which led Mark Hill to remark, “As good as it gets.” Encalypta vulgaris with capsules was seen on a high crag. Seligera pusilla occurred on a shady rock face at SO950398.

The day’s observations yielded several significant finds. Entodon concinnus (a de-bracketing) occurred in several places on this north-facing slope and was recorded by Tom Blockeel at SO9439. Bryum donianum (another de-bracketing) was found on a rocky ledge on oolite with Bryum capillare (SO956402) by Tom Blockeel and was confirmed by David Holyoak. A new record was Weissia controversa var crispata, found on soil in a crevice on an Oolitic limestone outcrop by Ron Porley at SO954406. Seligeria recurvata (yet another de-bracketing still to be confirmed) and new VC 37 species Seligeria calcarea and Seligeria donniana were also found.

Despite the fact that, towards the end of the afternoon, most of the party abandoned bryology at the onset of yet another hailstorm, five stalwarts tackled a field nearby on St. Catherine’s Farm (SO9540) for SBAL, the Survey of Bryophytes on Arable Land, and found twenty-one species. Ron Porley and Mark Hill recorded Weissia squarrosa, a de-bracketing and on the BAP and Endangered lists. They also found Weissia longifolia var. angustifolia, only the second recording of this species in VC37, and nineteen other species.

All in all, this was a good day. Most people assembled for an evening meal and lively discussion in the Red Lion in Great Malvern. Some moved to the agreed meeting place, the Foley Arms, only to find at the bar a drunken clown (a customer in fancy dress), who fell flat on his back and was dragged out feet first by his friends.

Bryologists descend the famous mud slip in Bredon Hill NNR Bryologists gather in a sheltered hollow on the summit of Bredon Hill for lunch.    Photo Harry Green

Monday 5th April: Rhubarb and other arable Fields, Osebury Rock and other sites

Although numbers began to dwindle after the weekend, about thirty people met at the long-established Rhubarb fields on the east side of the River Severn at Holt Fleet (SO825639). It was a colder, windy day with occasional sharp downpours, “typical April showers”. Most bryophytes were found in fields where the rhubarb was less advanced, so allowing light to reach the ground between the rows, but there were still mosses present where the rhubarb formed a complete canopy. Sphaerocarpos texanus had been found by Harry Green among the rhubarb during 2003. On this occasion several Sphaerocarpos sp. colonies were found and those collected were identified as S. michelii by both Liz Kungu (from Edinburgh) and Ron Porley. The two species often occur together. The site held fifteen species of moss and 2 hepatics. The nearby sage field (SO823642) contained Riccia sorocarpa and seven mosses.

Sphaerocarpos michelii growing on exposed soil in a rhubarb field. Photo Harry Green

Two groups recorded other arable fields for SBAL and three churchyards in the east of the county were visited while the field-recorders were in that area. The fields yielded between three and twenty species. Didymodon nicholsonii turned up in both Cropthorne (SP0045) and Fladbury (SO9946) church yards and, during the week, it became clear that this species is more widespread in the county than had been recognized previously.

The majority of people moved on to Osebury Rock (SO7355) on the bank of the River Teme not far from its confluence with the Severn below Worcester and to a nearby rock exposure in a field. The species found ranged from riverine species such as Cinclidotus fontinaloides, Dialytrichia mucronata, Lejeunea lamacerina, Neckera complanata and Leskea polycarpa to Bartramia pomiformis and Orthotrichum cupulatum found on the asbestos roof of a shed. On the separate rock Lophozia excisa was of most interest.

Jean Paton and Richard Fisk went off separately this day, to the challenging Hayley Dingle (SO759540) where they found among other species, Zygodon viridissimus var. stirtonii, a de-bracketing, and at the margin of an arable field above the north-west edge of the dingle they recorded Entosthodon fascicularis ( again a de-bracketing). They then moved on to the North Quarry of the Malverns. Although no outstanding species were found here, it was noted that Metzgeria furcata was growing on Buddleia.

So many sites were visited that day that the local organizer felt as if she were being showered by record cards when everyone met up in the Red Lion again, tempted there perhaps by the delicious sweets.

Tuesday 6th April: The Hillwood Estate

The Hillwood Estate is owned by the Hughes family. We met outside their ancient house and sheltered in the barns from the rain while Ann Hill described the site. The Estate comprises a number of ancient, unmanaged dingle woodlands, with travertine (tufa) in places on the streams, an old orchard, and arable land. We began by walking through the orchard, where everyone was impressed by the huge growths of mistletoe which still bore their berries, and then across fields to Death’s Dingle (SO668678, VC37), perhaps the slipperiest and steepest and most dramatic of the dingles.

Roy Jeffery recorded around the farm and in the orchard as he was limited by spraining his ankle as we came off Bredon on Sunday. Jean Paton and John Mott (from East Anglia) explored the woodland above Death’s Dingle, but most people ventured down the steep sides (PHOTO), through the ransoms, lush hart’s tongue fern and the numerous toothwort plants and then struggled up again afterwards for lunch.

There were extensive mats of bryophytes in Death’s Dingle with its woodland and its with stream with tufa (travertine) and many of the mosses and liverworts were fruiting . It is interesting to compare the bryoflora of Death’s Dingle with the findings of Allan Pentecost and Zhang Zhaohui “Bryophytes from some travertine-depositing sites in France and the U.K: relationships with climate and water chemistry.” Journal of Bryology (2002) 24:233-241.), which refers to a nearby site at Shelsey Walsh. In the valley and woods of Death’s Dingle twenty-one species of liverwort were found, including Nowellia curvifolia, Jungermannia atrovirens, and Plagiochila britannica. The mosses included Ctenidium molluscum, Dichodontium pellucidum, Eucladium verticillatum, Neckera complanata and luxuriant Palustriella commutata.

Bryologists in Death's Dingle. Photos Tessa Carrick

After lunch we moved on to the woodland of Mill Coppice (SO668673) which had Metzgeria fruticulosa, M. furcata and M.temperata . Otherwise, this wood was less interesting and the party moved quickly on to Foxholes Coppice (SO660673) with its stream running through virtually untouched woodland, lacking footpaths. The stream, again with zones of travertine, was dramatic, rich with bryophytes and very attractive but became narrow and at times difficult to negotiate. By the time the group reached the waterfall which prevented further progress, the group had dwindled to seven. Some had to be helped to clamber up the seemingly vertical slopes of the valley for the return.

The bryophytes of Foxholes Coppice were similar to those in Death’s Dingle with swathes of Palustriella commutata together with Pohlia wahlenbergii but generally not so diverse. Additional species included Lejeunea cavifolia and L. lamacerina, Eurhynchium schleicheri, Hygrohypnum luridum, and Leptodictyum riparium. The attraction of this day was not the new records achieved but the interesting sites and the sheer wealth of bryophytes present.

Wednesday 7th April: Larford

About ten people remained for the final morning at Larford, an area of mixed habitat including set aside with bare sandy patches, encroaching bramble, woodland and a small pool, concrete blocks and the bank of the River Severn. This was different from anywhere else we had visited and less attractive but it provided an interesting contrast. Very little time was spent by the river since it began to pour with rain yet again. While there we all witnessed the full courtship display and mating of a pair of Mute Swans.

The species recorded include a range of Bryum, Didymodon, Orthotrichum, Syntrichia and Tortula species, Aloina aloides, Drepanocladus aduncus, Leskea polycarpa, Radula complanata and Ulota phyllantha, a mix which reflects the variety of habitat.

During the week, there were other new records, contributed by various people. Jonathan Graham, Graham Motley and Sam Bosanquet (all of whom had worked together in Wales at one time) visited several additional sites near their accommodation and Jonathan looked at St.Leonard’s churchyard at Cotheridge and at Elgar’s Birthplace Museum car park. Mark Pool recorded two new vice-county records from Malvern itself, Syntrichia papillosa and Syntrichia virescens. Friends Christine Rieser and Frank Lammiman made a trip to the Devil’s Spittleful nature Reserve and Rod Stern called in at the Knapp and Papermill Reserve on his way home.

The River Teme is a site well known not only for Cinclidotus fontinaloides, but also for Cinclidotus riparius. The distinction between the two species has been discussed by Blockeel (1998), who examined specimens from New Mill Bridge, Shelsley Beauchamp (SO729623, VC37) During the meeting a group visited Ham Bridge (SO7361, VC37) but were unable to reach the river’s edge. Richard Lansdown examined the concrete footings of the older iron bridge at Stanford Bridge (SO714657, VC37) where he found both species, C. fontinaloides being slightly higher above the water than C. riparius. Since the meeting, a local group, including Lorna Fraser, has revisited this site and has examined the two species microscopically, thus confirming the identification.

The local team were grateful to everyone who attended for the cooperation and good humour exhibited during the week and for the energetic way everyone went about recording. We hope they enjoyed visiting Worcestershire as much as we valued having them in the county. The showers and hail and mud did not seem to deter anyone – after all bryophytes, and hence bryologists, appreciate a little dampness.


The success of the meeting is due to the preparation by the local team, helped throughout by Mark Lawley and by Rosemary Winnall from the Wyre Forest. Thanks go to all who allowed us access to their land, the Severn family for access to Wissetts Wood on the Shakenhurst Estate, Jeremy and Charlotte Hughes (the owners of the Hillwood Estate), English Nature, the Forestry Commission, the Guild of St. George, the Malvern Conservators, especially Mr. David Whitehorne, Mr. Ed Brown and Mr. Butler for access to Baveney Brook, Mr Mark Steele of Woollas Hall for permission to visit his land on Bredon Hill and to park on their car park, Mr Bill Arnold for access to his rhubarb fields, Mr Martin Cook for granting access to Osebury Rock, Mr Eddie Orgee for permission to visit Hayley Dingle, and Worcestershire Wildlife Trust. Thanks also to Tim Dixon and Simon Walker of English Nature for granting permirs to visit Bredon Hill NNR and Wyre Forest. We also have to thank Mr. and Mrs. Leveratt of the Christian Conference Centre for the meeting rooms and for making those who stayed there so welcome and comfortable and allowing them to spread microscopes and books across the dining room.

I would also like to thank Sam Bosanquet, Lorna Fraser, Harry Green, Ann Hill, Mark Lawley, Mark Pool, and Rosemary Winnall who looked at early drafts of this report.



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GREEN, G. H. (Ed.) (1995) A Year in the life of Worcestershire’s Nature Reserves (Pisces).
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LEES, E. (1868) The Botany of the Malvern Hills. London: Simpkin, Marshall and Co.
PATON, J. (1960) Notes on Wyre Forest visit on 7-8 October 1959. Transactions of the British Bryological Society 3:790-791.
PENTECOST, A. AND ZHAOHUI, Z. (2002) ‘Bryophytes from some travertine-depositing sites in France and the U.K.: relationships with climate and chemistry.’ Journal of Bryology 24: 233-241.
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