Tag Archives: Warrington PG

Warrington Plant Group New Year Plant Hunt 2019

It was actually still 2018 when Warrington Plant Group completed our 2019 New Year Plant Hunt, but we wouldn’t let a little detail like that put us off 😉

Five botanists met on 30th December in a pub car park in north Warrington to begin our quest.  As always, we started in the car park.  You really never can tell what you might find in a car park, there is always something to look at, and often something unexpected, too.  Always worth casting your eyes about while you’re putting your boots on and waiting for the rest of the group to arrive.  The same rule applies to your lunch stop, except in this case I usually find I have sat on the most interesting species of the day…. !

Having knocked off several flowering species in the car park, including narrow-leaved ragwort Senecio inaequidens (a new tetrad record), we went up the footpath into the arable farmland to see what we might discover among the crop.  Points were soon awarded to Rebecca for identifying a plant of turnip within the crop from at least 15 metres away, owing to its distinctive flat-topped inflorescences.  We spent a while searching for open florets on cocksfoot Dactylis glomerata only to give up and then more or less instantly find some around the next corner.  Always the way!

By a large oak tree we discovered large-flowered hemp-nettle Galeopsis speciosa, a pleasant surprise.  This species is something of a local speciality, but is not often seen, with only two previous records for the tetrad this decade.  Our plant was somewhat faded, but unmistakable.  Definitely a nice plant to see.

We continued our mission along a ditch-side footpath, which proved disappointing, with red campion being the only new addition to our list.  Heading into the village of Croft, we were invigorated by a selection of pavement weeds as we made our way into the wild land on the edge of the housing estate.  Here, there were few plants in flower and we added only slender rush Juncus tenuis and wood avens Geum urbanum, but we did see lots of interesting fungi, so it was worth a visit.

We arrived back at the pub at 1pm with 34 flowering species under our belts and were more than ready for a roast dinner to celebrate our achievement 🙂

Photos by @garymysnail and @botany_beck on Twitter

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Warrington Plant Group New Year Plant Hunt 2018

The New Year in Burtonwood dawned wet and windy, but a small group of hardy botanists were not deterred (much) and set off in heavy rain to see how many flowering plants we could find.  The weather had been rather cold in the lead-up to the survey and we decided we would be happy to find seven species in flower – one each!

It started well with two species in the car park and another four in a nearby arable field.  On the edge of the road Sam found white deadnettle and that was our seven species – we could officially retire to the pub at this point.  Did we stop there?   No.  The pub was not open yet 😦 so we continued our walk along the Sankey Valley.

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Warrington Plant Group at Gorse Covert Mounds

Our excursion to Gorse Covert Mounds started rather unpromisingly with heavy rain and only two of us arriving for the trip.  In fact, it rained so hard throughout the meeting that I don’t have any photos to prove we even went out!  My phone is supposed to be waterproof, but there are limits…….

We met at the usual place for Gorse Covert Mounds, an urban park sandwiched between a main road and housing development in Birchwood, east of Warrington.  There are a variety of habitats represented here, including neutral grassland, plantation woodland and scrub, ponds and a small area of relict raised bog at the eastern end – Pestfurlong Moss.  So we were hopeful of a reasonable species count even with only two of us looking.

Given the weather, I was quite happy with our total of 130 species, including four species of Sphagnum we couldn’t resist looking at at Pestfurlong Moss.

Warrington Plant Group in “The Hunt For The Sand Leek”

I had discovered records of sand leek in Warrington when poking around the rECOrd database in search of interesting and rare plants:

This was intriguing.  I was down the pub with Dave Earl, the county recorder for South Lancs, so I asked him about the SJ68 records which would be on his patch.  He had heard about it, and thought it was along the old cut near what is now Morrisons in south Warrington.  And the idea for the hunt for the sand leek was born! Continue reading

Warrington Plant Group at Houghton Green Pool 2017

Having been here in the winter to investigate its bryophyte flora, we agreed that it would be fun to come back in the summer to see the flowering plants.  It was a wet day, but we were not deterred (much) and duly met up at the pub to see what we could find.  Here is the Pool on our October visit – it was very dried up and about half the size on our May visit despite the recent (and ongoing) rainfall.

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Warrington Plant Group at Spud Wood, Lymm

I didn’t think we would beat the previous day’s total from our meeting at Rhyl (see last week’s post) but we did!  152 species for the day.  It was a record breaking meeting in other ways with an amazing 12 people turning up to meet me and go out botanising, including friends from not just Warrington Plant Group but the Flintshire BSBI group as well, not forgetting the BSBI Cheshire vice-county recorder.  Thank you to those who attended for all your contributions 🙂

Fumaria muralis ssp boraei photographed by Phil James, det Martyn Stead

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Warrington Plant Group at Lumb Brook Wood 2017

Having explored the vascular plant flora of Lumb Brook Wood last year, we thought it would be a good place to record mosses and liverworts.  The site is mature woodland, is thought to be ancient at least in part and has the benefit of a stream running through it, so we thought it had lots of bryological potential.

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