Warbling Free


Two Year’s ago Brad and I did a recce of the area just north of Warbleton for a field meeting that had to be cancelled because of vile weather. We recorded 64 species without too much effort on a pleasant circular walk along holloways, over heathland, through woods and across ploughed fields.

The area just to the south had no bryophyte records and I planned a circuit along footpaths and lanes which I hoped would be interesting enough for an autumn field meeting.  I was wrong!

A large arable field behind the church had been covered in Riccia glauca when we crossed a diagonal path in late September 2017. As we hadn’t got back with the group for a more thorough search I thought this might be a good starting point. The field was described as a stubble field in our records but on the 10 September this year it had been ploughed and the earth was dry. I couldn’t see any greyish thalli of Riccia but there was masses of Tortula truncata on disturbed clods of earth.E81A070B-2D7D-473C-B67E-FA8206D08EC6

I followed the path down to a sliver of woodland separating fields. I was still in TQ61E and didn’t add anything new to the tetrad list.

As I passed the church I plucked a bit of Zygodon from the churchyard wall which had the thick excurrent nerve of Zygodon viridissimus var. stirtonii. So that cheered me up a bit.

Time to head into my target tetrad which was a short walk down the road. An Ash tree thickly wrapped in Homalothecium sericeum was in TQ61E but across the road and in TQ61D a steep brick and stone sides of a culvert were covered in vigorous new growth of Conocephalum conicum. The road then entered a tree shaded section at Kingsley Hill with soil banks and some sandstone peeping through. It was mostly covered in Mnium hornum with Calypogeia arguta and Pseudotaxyphyllum elegans filling in the gaps.5785C9D6-4951-456B-ADD7-EC077F8EBBF7

An old concrete footpath sign was where I expected it to be but it was buried deep in brambles. I scrunched along a fresh gravel drive looking for the path which should have run alongside a pond. The pond was there but no footpath so I had to turn back.

Back at the junction of Hammer Lane and Chapmans Town Road there was some dusty Plagiochila asplenioides, a liverwort that is usually bright green and glossy, on the steep bank by the road. Some wet woodland was litter strewn with remains of barbecues and fly tipping but I was able to note a few things from the wood edge including Isothecium alopecuroides and fruiting Amblystegium serpens covered the base of an Ash tree

Back in Warbleton I sat at the edge of the ploughed field watching swallows fly low across the warm earth and wasps buzz around my sandwich. I thought of driving on to look for other ways to access the blocked footpath but instead found myself following the edge of the field down towards the point where the path crossed a stream. The footpath disappeared but I didn’t mind as the area was swampy with Willows stretching epiphyte covered branches through the brambles. Wetter branches were bursting with Metzgeria violaceae, Radula complanata and Frullania dilatata.

Following the field edge to a damp and shaded section with abundant Tortula truncata I collected a clod with Dicranella schreberianaEphemerum minutissimum and yet more Tortula truncata. We had recorded all of these in 2017 but not in this tetrad.

I hadn’t found a good route for a field meeting but had recorded 30 species in TQ61D added the Z. stirtonii to TQ61E and had a mostly enjoyable walk in this lovely rolling landscape. The village pub is quite nice too.




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