British Bryological Society South East Group

We are a friendly group of enthusiastic bryologists with members at all levels of ability.  We usually run a programme of events from September through to April covering parts of Kent, Surrey and Sussex. So if you would like to find out where we are going and join us, please contact either: Brad Scott or Sue Rubinstein, or you can sign up to the email list. Details are also available on the BBS site.

Below is the list of meetings which have been organised for the forthcoming season, and you can also read reports of previous field meetings. We have a varied mix of habitats in the county ranging from chalk grassland, coastal shingle, heathland to woodland and Ardingly Sandstone, so we usually expect to see a good diversity of bryophyte species. Some locations will have more challenging terrain; please check with the leader if you are unsure about anything.

The email group will be notified a day or two before each meeting to confirm that it is going ahead as planned or to inform you of any change of plan. The BBS also requires participants to read a risk assessment before attending a field meeting and this will be included in the pre-meeting mailout.

Meetings are open to everyone, not just members, so friends are welcome. Please remember to wear warm clothing and waterproofs, and bring food and drinks if you’re planning to stay for the whole meeting. The only equipment you’ll need is a hand lens if you have one although a camera, notebook, collecting bags and a small spray bottle are also useful. All meetings will be suitable for all levels of expertise from absolute beginners through to specialists. If you wish to purchase a field guide to bryophytes then the best book is the British Bryological Society’s Mosses and Liverworts of Britain and Ireland: a field guide (2010).

Meetings will start promptly at 10.30am and finish around 3-3.30pm.

Sunday 6 October 2019: Malling Down Chalk Pits

Led by Sue Rubinstein

A fascinating site packed full of interesting bryophytes; Leicolea badensis, Lophozia perssonii and Thuidium assimile to name just a few. We will be a bit early in the season for some species but should catch the last of the chalk grassland flowers. The chalk pits can be very slippery. Walking boots advisable. Meet in the car park at TQ433115. It is a 30 minute walk or easy cycle from Lewes train or bus stations.

Sunday 17 November 2019: Footland Wood, Vinehall Forest

Led by Sue Rubinstein

Vinehall Forest covers a large area of open access woodland with few previous records. We will concentrate on Footland Wood but might have time to venture into Barne’s wood too. There are streams, mixed woodland, scrub and coppice so bryophytes should be plentiful. Wear wellies! Suitable for beginners. Park in the free Footland Wood car park on the SE side of the B2089 at TQ762203.

Saturday 7 December 2019: Harting Downs

Led by John Norton and Sue Rubinstein, joint meeting with The Southern Group

A large area of ancient chalk grassland with scrub and woodland including one of the best juniper sites in the south. Dicranum bonjeanii, Loeskeobryum brevirostre, Rhodobryum roseum and Thuidium assimile have all been found here in the past. As well as the stunning views be prepared to look at a lot of anthills! Park in the National Trust car park on the B2141 at SU79061806. £2 for non members.

Sunday 12 January 2020: Broad Oak

Led by Brad Scott

The area to the east of Heathfield has many under-recorded tetrads. We will explore the lanes and woods of Broad Oak, which lies on the Ashdown Formation. Only a handful of species has been recorded in the area, including old, unlocalised instances of Aulacomnium palustre, Sphagnum papillosum and Hyocomium armoricum. Park on Scotsford Road after the school (TQ606226).

Sunday 23 February 2020: Stonegate CANCELLED

Led by Brad Scott

A completely unrecorded tetrad on the Wealden Clay south of Stonegate village as the land slopes down to the Rother. Realistically, it may not be an especially rich territory for bryophytes, but should at least be good for beginners and revision. But you never know what we might find! Meet at Stonegate station car park (TQ658272) (£1).

Sunday 1 March 2020: Markstakes

Led by Jacqui Hutson

Markstakes Common is on base-poor soil and supports mostly mixed deciduous woodland of Hornbeam, Beech, Birch, Oak, Holly, Willow and Aspen with some Wild Service Trees. There are some veteran trees in the woodland, which was wood pasture in the past. The Friends of Markstakes Common have cleared some of the woodland to create glades, where heather and other acid-loving plants have colonised. Other habitats include an old clay pit, now vegetated, ponds and small boggy areas. There is also a bryophyte-clad flint wall where we shall start the meeting.

Markstakes Lane is a turning to the east of the A275 in South Chailey between the Six Bells pub and the now-closed Horns Lodge pub at TQ39341840. Meet by the gate in the wall at TQ39791835. Alternative parking is in Green Lane at the start of Markstakes Lane. The wood can be quite muddy but the terrain is level.


Led by Stephen Lemon.

Joint meeting with Kent Field Club

This will be a walk along steep wooded slopes on the ragstone ridge in Kent, east of Sevenoaks.  The site is within the One Tree Hill and Bitchet Common SSSI. Small calcareous ragstone rocks outcrop with range of bryophytes and there are some very large coppice stools rich in bryophytes where we should see Porella arbores-vitae in small amounts. There are old records for Amblystegium confervoides and Scleropodium tourettii.  Meet at the free car park at One Tree Hill (TQ55875321).