N: Isle of Wight
May 17 - May 18
Draft programme (venues and times may change)
Meeting Centre and general information
We will use, as an informal base, the Channel View Hotel (email: firstname.lastname@example.org).
Nowhere on the island is a long drive one of the ferry ports from the mainland; Portsmouth – Ryde is the shortest link, and closest to Shanklin. Shanklin is also at the end of the quaint railway line from Ryde Pier head station. [from the station approach you come to a road junction: fork left down Athelstan Road for 400 yards (sorry, metres); go through the traffic lights, and the hotel will be seen above you on the left]
There is a huge choice of accommodation in Shanklin, but it is a poplar holiday destination, so early booking is advisable.
As parking may be difficult at some sites during the meeting, we will minimise cars, and if you need a lift from the station (or wherever), please let me know.
A few sites may involve some scrambling (which could be optional), and wellington boots will enable maximum appreciation of the Freshwater Marshes. We will be led by Colin Pope, the BSBI recorder for the IOW. Few people know the island and its flora as well as Colin.
Friday May 17th
Meet at the Channel View Hotel (01983 862309) for a meal. It would be helpful if you would let me know if you will be joining us.
We may look at some sites in Shanklin in the evening (Selaginella kraussiana is naturalised in the churchyard for instance).
Saturday May 18th
0930: Meet at the Channel View Hotel, to drive to the Windy Gap car park at St. Catherine’s Point, the southernmost point on the island (SZ 494758). Colin will meet us here (1000), or at the hotel, depending on the need for lifts. Note that the A3055 marked red on the OS map, is closed at some points due to landslip; follow Whitwell Road out of Ventnor (marked brown on the OS map).
We will hope to see the easternmost site for Asplenium marinum, as well as Osmunda and Equisetum x font-queri among other pteridophytes.
Depending on the weather, we can picnic here or lunch at a nearby inn.
p.m. We drive to along the Military Road to Freshwater Marshes, parking at SZ 347 857. We may have to pay here.
We shall see Marsh fern, and Dryopteris x deweveri, searching as well for D. carthusiana among other ferns. Wellington boots are essential here to see the Marsh Fern in particular.
On the way back we may visit other sites, hoping to see Ophioglossum among other things.
1900 to 1930: Meet for an evening meal at Channel View Hotel. Again please let me know if you will be joining us.
Sunday May 19th
0930: Leave channel View Hotel to drive to Ventnor Botanic Garden (c. 1000) (SZ 547768). There is an admission charge, but we should get a group discount.
This is a remarkable botanic garden, quite unlike any other. Utilising an exceptionally mild climate (there was only one frost (-1.6oC) this winter), the garden has collections of plants grouped by geography (i.e., Mediterranean; South Africa etc.) and which are encouraged to naturalise in the garden. The Australian area has a remarkable collection of tree ferns, on the trunks of which came uninvited some unexpected aliens, which survived. Perhaps the most surprising is Tmesipteris, found recently by the late, and sadly missed, Tim Pyner.
We can obtain a light lunch at one of the cafes in the gardens.
p.m. On the way back to Shanklin, we shall see Adiantum capillus-veneris, and some of the aliens in Ventnor, e.g. Cytomium falcatum. At Bonchurch pond, Woodwardia radicans has naturalised.
Finally we shall visit Shanklin Chine, a miniature gorge and tourist attraction, but also full of ferns. There are plenty of places for tea here or in the old village of Shanklin, and the meeting should finish at about 5 – 5.30p.m.