British Bryological Society meeting, Shropshire

Usually on a bryological meeting, I wouldn’t expect to go very far.  Last time I went on an organised trip, even at our furthest point, I could have got back to the car park in less than five minutes… but this was different.  The meeting was organised by Mark, a runner, and you could tell, we were kept moving all day over all sorts of terrain – I wasn’t expecting to get a workout but I did and I feel slightly more hill fit for the experience !On the first day we met at the bottom of the Long Mynd near Church Stretton, to hike up the hill and search for interesting liverworts in small bogs and flushes and then navigate steep rocky slopes in the hope of finding some interesting mosses.  It was a cold and wet day and Mark kept us moving all the time – up and down the hill, up and down, if you’re familiar with the Fan Dance it was like that, but for somewhat less fit people who were dressed for standing about and just not expecting to be repeatedly beasted up multiple steep hills.  Despite being overdressed and underfit, this proved a fun expedition with lots of new species to be seen.

On the second day, we were blessed with much better weather and went to Titterstone Clee Hill, where we ignored the pleasantly grassy heathery slopes, aiming straight for the block screes where Grimmia incurva and a variety of other interesting species had been recorded.  This proved somewhat precarious with tired legs from yesterday, but rewarding, as we successfully found our target species.  Here are some members of the group searching for a moss which only grows on sheep dung (of all things!).bryologists on block scree

We camped at our favourite campsite at Marshbrook – it’s blessed with an excellent pub next door – and all in all it was a top weekend.  I’m looking forward to my next outing with the BBS but will be ready for a full day of hiking next time !!!

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