Saturday July 26th 2014

New Forest, Hampshire

Leaders: Jo and Ashley Basil

Eight members and guests, including Mike Rowe, who lives locally and has considerable knowledge of the area’s botany, met at Jo and Ashley Basil’s house, in Boldre, near Lymington.

After sorting out the Society’s problems over coffee, our first stop was to private woods near Buckland Rings, where Janet and Gareth had kindly given us permission to explore a wood which was effectively their back garden. Our attention was caught by some unusual bracken (Pteridium aquilinum) fronds, some foliose, crisp or depauperate. In a boggy area near a tributary of the Lymington River, we saw many plants of Dryopteris dilatata and D. carthusiana, but none that convinced us they might have been the hybrid, D. x deweveri. There were also fine plants of Athryrium filix-femina and Blechnum spicant here.

After a superb, and largely home-grown, lunch, we briefly toured Jo and Ashley’s garden. A magnificent specimen of Lophosoria quadripinnata caught our eye, along with some fine Dicksonias and plants of Adiantum venustum and Araiostegia perdurans, grown to good effect in hanging baskets.

Our next stop was a sphagnum bog, west of Setley Model Yacht pond, just before the railway bridge (SZ 303 994) where we saw Lycopodiella inundata growing well and fruiting, together with, among others, Bog Asphodel, Bog Cotton, Sundew, Bog St. Johnswort, and, in drier places, Lesser Spearwort, Ranunculus flammula.

Just beyond the Police Station on the A 337 out of Lyndhurst, we turned right, across a golf course into an area cleared of pine trees 3-4 years ago (SZ 3058 0923). Among the bracken (Pteridium aquilinum), many Osmunda regalis sporelings were happily colonising. We also saw Dryopteris dilatata, D. carthusiana, Blechnum spicant, Athyrium filix-femina and Oreopteris limbosperma here. By a small stream were individual plants of Dryopteris filix-mas and D. borreri, otherwise uncommon here, although in the absence of a minimum of ten different opinions and an eventual 90% consensus, there was some reluctance to believe this recorder.

Finally we visited the well-known Equisetum x bowmanii (the hybrid between E. telmateia and E. sylvaticum) site close by the A337 in Shave Wood near Minstead (SZ 295 123). We found it in excellent condition, where protected from grazing between the road and the fence, although a number of spikes were found some distance away. Apart from the ubiquitous bracken, we also found Polypodium vulgare and (probably) P. interjectum, growing side-by-side on an oak tree.

Thank you, Jo and Ashley, for a lovely, well-planned day and for a fantastic lunch.

Paul Ripley

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