The Lichen Hunters book review

I recently had the opportunity of reading and enjoying Oliver Gilbert’s book ‘The Lichen Hunters’. Published in 2004 it is no longer in print, so unfortunately now only available second-hand. There have of course been many reviews of the book over the past twenty years by organisations such as the BLS, the New Scientist and others. (I even found a note in ‘Australian lichenology’). Here are some of my own views which I will attempt to share with you.

The book chronicles the history of lichenology in Britain , concentrating on early enthusiasts and field-work which really got going in the mid nineteen fifties.

After first flicking through the pages I set out to read about the early pioneers as they sought to develop the subject through meetings, excursions and friendly academic cooperation. Memories came back reminding me of areas that I had visited, and people that I had met, during some forty years of working in nature conservation and a lifetime of family holidays. My own very limited experience was soon put into perspective!

In addition to the quite detailed descriptive lichenology, I was impressed by the boundless enthusiasm of those taking forward, what was a relatively specialist subject, towards wider appreciation and enjoyment of lichens by the general amateur naturalist.

I have on my bookshelf quite a few lichen books. Like many before me, I began my interest years ago with ‘The Observers Book of Lichens’ (1963) and ‘The Oxford Book of Flowerless Plants’ (1966), before moving on to Ursula Duncan’s ‘Introduction to British Lichens’, and others. Stimulating and useful as I found these, they are textbooks, aimed at helping with species identification, and providing guidance on habitat preference and distribution. ‘The Lichen Hunters’ is different, it is a readable story, which once started I was reluctant to put down as I moved from one adventure to the next, learning as I went along just what can be discovered by those with energy, persistence and adequate expertise.

That is not to say that I didn’t find some bits difficult . Understandably there is a plethora of scientific names throughout the text (it wouldn’t be half as interesting or as useful if these weren’t there), not surprisingly there are many species new to the U.K. or particular area of search. I found this frustrating at times. Out of a total of some 520 species referred to in the text (yes ! I counted them!) many are not included in Dobson’s Illustrated Guide, which I had by my side looking for illustrations as I went along.

The amount of ground covered is vast, the Lizard to North Rona, County Kerry to the Norfolk coast, St Kilda to the Flannan Isles. Abandoned airfields in Yorkshire and Devon, Churchyards and ancient monuments, crags, boulders, lakes, streams, foreshores and reefs, at times it is exhausting, but, always the feeling of being there. Aching legs, wind in your face, numb fingers and the taste of salt on your lips.

But lichens and where they are found is only part of the story. The book’s title ‘The Lichen Hunters’ indicates that the book is also about people, the folk that went out looking for and recording lichens. Over the years Oliver tells of working with many enthusiasts, professional and amateur, young and old, expert and beginner. A glance at the index at the back of the book reveals just how many names now familiar to us have played a part in driving the subject on (over a hundred). I will not attempt to list them. Many are still with us and active, others have sadly passed on. Who will forget Peter James or Francis Rose? And who will not be excited at the thought of meeting Brian Coppins or Allan Pentecost in the field?

To sum up I can do no better than to present a couple of quotes from the book which I think give an idea of its style, its scope and opportunities for entering a very special world.

The first quote refers to an early BLS meeting on the Lizard Peninsula in 1980 :

`After lunch, taken sitting in the sun, for relaxation we went to the Iron Age Hillfort (at Kynance) to see the stones covered in Teloschistes, Physcia tribacioides and Parmelia tinctina  We gradually botanised our way back to the cars, saturated with new experiences, feeling bemused but exhausted, dimly aware that we had experienced one of the great days of British lichenology.`

The second refers to a more recent visit to Borrowdale:

`A visit to the Lake District in May is to be savoured. In the upper valleys the fields are full of Herdwick lambs, the Hawthorns are laden with blossom, there is usually a Cuckoo calling and the sun carries real warmth.  The exciting thing about this Lobarion (on pollarded Ash) is its richness, it is the finest in England outside Cornwall, and there is nothing approaching it in Southern Scotland. To me the Lobarion stands for a lost England of Edwardian summers, village cricket, real ale and honey for tea.`

If you get the chance to read it I hope you will enjoy it as much as I did.

Russell Gomm

Oliver Gilbert The Book Guild 2004 208 pp, colour illustrated ISBN 1 85776 930 9

Oliver Gilbert 1936 – 2005

Bryophyte Trip report

Mallerstang Bryophyte report 14 September 2023

As with any bryology outing, it’s easy to get distracted by the surroundings of the car park. Some awkward road closures and traffic spread out arrivals, so a brief look around Pendragon castle yielded a light green Zygodon growing on an old ash – Zygodon rupestris perhaps? Alas, the longitudinal cell walls on its gemmae confirmed it as the more-common Zygodon viridissimus.

Once all three bryologists were present, we set off for the Mallerstang crags aiming to focus our efforts on grid square NY7902 which curiously lacked any bryophyte records. After confirming the presence of Rhytidiadelphus squarrosus ambitiously (presumptively?) identified by Judith from 800m away in the car park, we found a typical assembly of upland acid grassland mosses and the first few of what would be a good day for SphagnumSphagnum capillifolium, S. subnitens and S. russowii.

Our first liverwort of the day was Tritomaria quinquedentata growing among wefts of Pleurozium and Pseudoscleropodium, quickly followed by Ptilidium ciliare, Orthocaulis attenuatus and a larger gemmiferous Orthocaulis (confirmed later as O. atlanticus) on the grassy margins of exposed rocks. The shaded bases of the larger rocks were occupied by Diplophyllum albicans, Scapania gracilis and the occasional large stand of a Cephalozia, later confirmed by Kerry to be C. bicuspidata.

As we advanced further towards the crags, we crossed several rush-dominated flushes, adding six more sphagna to our list – S. squarrosum, S. auriculatum, S. palustre, S. fallax, S. angustifolium and S. teres. We also added Polytrichum commune whose family was well represented on the day, including P. piliferum, P. strictum, P. formosum, Polytrichastrum alpinum, Pogonatum urnigerum and P. aloides.

We passed a few more damp patches adding Sphagnum papillosum and S. rubellum to our list, and our arrival at the crags was further delayed by a stream with typical riparian bryophytes – Brachythecium plumosum, Racomitrium aciculare, R. aquaticum, Scapania undulata and a Pellia species. The flushed edges boasted Philonotis fontana and Dichodontium pellucidum with scattered patches of Riccardia chamaedryfolia.

It was after 2pm when we reached the crags where we pondered a slender Campylium, later identified as C. portensum with leaves <2mm long, large alar patches and abruptly tapering leaves. The flushed crags were adorned with flows of the usual suspects – Philonotis fontana, Amphidium mougeotii, Palustriella commutata and Breutelia chrysocoma. The diversity expanded with Pohlia wahlenbergii, Bryum julaceum, Aneura pinguis, Pellia endiviifolia with ample branchlets, Blindia acuta, Jungermannia atrovirens, Hookeria lucens and Gymnostomum aeruginosum.

Our journey back to the carpark included a brief stop around some boulders with Calypogeia arguta, Schistidium crassipilum and Orthotrichum diaphanum joining our list. Further down, a quick look around a streamside limestone exposure yielded little more of interest but hiding in turf overhang was Sphagnum girgensohnii, our twelfth and final Sphagnum of the day.

Text and photos: Paul Ross

Bryophyte Trip report

Hutton Roof bryophyte trip report 15-3-23

If there is one thing, I’m less familiar with than writing a blog post it’s limestone bryophytes. So, I was really pleased that ‘team Bryo’ for the day was a good six of us and included both the Cumbrian VC recorders for support. Our target for the day was to explore the SD5678 monad of the SD57U Tetrad, including the rakes and Blasterfoot Gap areas. With only 26 species recorded for the Tetrad and only three reported for the monad, confidence we could add to the list was good.

With the temperature nudging up to 0ºC and the thin cover of snow melting we left the village by the post office and headed up the track. Our first success … making it out of the car parking area! Of course, it didn’t last, and we barely made it through the gate into the square before being arrested by a good selection of finds on the limestone dry walls. Porella platyphylla, Homalothecium serieum, Brachythecium rutabulum, Neckera crispa, Encalypta streptocarpa and a few more were on the list by the time we were all through the gate. Ctenidium molluscum at least I recognised as characteristic of limestone.

Bearing left and skirting the southern edge of the square we checked off some commoner grassland species that you usually can’t fail to find anywhere. Pausing at some large boulders we got our first spot of Fissidens dubius in its typical habitat of dry limestone.

Dropping off the path for a short detour to view a small cliff overhung by Ash trees brought our sight of the day of Anomodon viticulosus covering huge areas in extensive ‘tufts’. The nearby wall sported cushions of Syntrichia ruralis with its long hair points making the leaves look far narrower than they actually are. The top of the wall sparkled with melted snow hanging in drops from spore capsules.

Anomodon viticulosus
Anomodon viticulosus

Back up and across the path we then explored some large, sloped, exposed slabs of rock with a number of limestone and disturbed ground species being found. Most of these, apart from Tortella tortuosa, had names I’ve never even heard of before as there is little limestone near my home. Quite a few, like Entosthodon Muehlenbeckii, and the Anomobryum julacea I spotted looking like little upright strands of embroidery thread, don’t key directly in the field-guide so the support of Andy was invaluable here.

With everyone cooling down and terrain looking similar we decided to cover a bit of ground and warm up. Passing the lichenologists admiring a well camouflaged ‘The Engrailed’ (Ectropis crepuscularia) moth, we turned up the slope and found the wall festooned with huge swags of Neckera crispa. Some patches of Rhytidiadelphus triquestris were seen near the wall base.

Neckera crispa
Neckera crispa

Heading back out across the slope we passed some luxuriant Homalothecium lutescens on the way to more open ground. Further across we ‘rediscovered’ the only targeted find for the day: Rhytidium rugosum. Its characteristic ‘wrinkled’ leaves giving it a more matt appearance then the similar coloured Hypnum lacunosum. Finding ourselves with a good view we settled for lunch surrounded by tufts of Sesleria caerulea, Blue Moor-grass, just beginning to flower.

We continued up the slope after lunch but dropped down to the base of one of the limestone rakes in search of different habitat. Here we found some patches of Marchesinia mackaii. Emerging at the top of the slope onto an area of calcareous grassland studded with anthills we could see where moles and badgers had been busy. With nothing of much note, most of the anthills were found to be topped with Bryum pallens.

Bryum pallens
Bryum pallens

A cool breeze saw us opt for a drop in elevation and some cover, so we dropped down over the brow and around to the path running down through Oak woodland to the church. Here we found it unusual that nearly all the fallen, well-rotted wood was almost devoid of bryo flora, though we did eventually find some of the usual suspects. The rocks in the wood were absolutely and extensively carpeted with deep swathes of Thamnobryum alopecurum almost to the exclusion of anything else. But not quite, as we did find a few good-sized patches of the furry Apometzgeria pubescens.

Apometzgeria pubescens
Apometzgeria pubescens

With the forecast rain beginning to settle we made our way back from the Church to the village starting point, admiring the just about to flower Moschatel on the bank tops. Another great trip out, and subject to confirmations a likely tripling, or better, of the species recorded for the tetrad.

Text: Ian Burrow. Photos: Ian Burrow and Clare Shaw

I’d just like to add as a footnote that the Entosthodon muehlenbeckii was an exciting find. A limestone specialist with only 28 records in the BBS atlas (mysteriously, many more on NBN but many of them seemed ancient), we found this in large quantities on the rock slabs and a couple of patches later on, on limestone pavement. Previously recorded in a neighbouring monad this must be a real stronghold for it.

Entosthodon muehlenbeckii
Entosthodon muehlenbeckii

The lichens of Hadrian’s Wood and Tarraby Lane, 3rd Feb 2023

Caz and I recently ran an introduction to lichens session for the first year students on the Wildlife and Media B.A. at the University of Cumbria’s Brampton Road Campus, Carlisle. We walked initially along Tarraby Lane, lined with beech trees which cast a deep shade for much of the year. This makes it hard for lichens to grow, so leafy lichens were few here and very small, with crustose and leprose (powdery) species dominating. There was also evidence of nitrogen pollution based on which species were present or absent. The damp wood at the end of the lane had more light and was perhaps better sheltered from pollution, so there was a greater range of lichen growth forms and species seen, including the shocking pink lichenicolous fungus Illosporiopsis christiansenii, one of the fungi which specialise in living on/in particular lichens. This one’s preferred habitat is the lichen genus Physcia.

This is what the students said about the day, and their photos are below:

I loved learning more about lichen. I’ve been interested in fungi for years now but never really thought to look at their wonderful symbiotic existence as lichens. An alga, a bacterium and a fungus – it really is fascinating! Staring at the little blue-grey growths on the sides of trees was quite eye-opening. I’d never spent the time to notice how detailed they are. Some were bumpy with protruding cup-like structures, others flat so flat they looked like dust, on branches some stuck out like coral. What I found the most exciting was learning that there are minute coral-pink fungi growing on the surface of some of the lichen. Tiny little fungi piggybacking on another fellow fungus in a completely altered symbiotic state! Honestly, what’s not to love?

Nathan  Greening

I really enjoyed learning about lichen id, before I never really gave them much thought, but being able to identify key features of a habitat due to the massive variety of the group is a great fieldcraft skill, and can tell me things about the biodiversity which may not have been so obvious otherwise.

Daniel Peters

We really enjoyed it too: it got us to go and look at somewhere we otherwise wouldn’t (and make 80-odd records for the BLS database). I won’t forget the lichen-rich litter bin in front of the campus – see below! Thank you to Alex Playford, the course tutor, for organising it.

Pete Martin and Caz Walker

Photos by Daniel Peters

Photos by Issy Drake

Photos by Nathan Greening

Photo by Pete Martin

The lichen-rich litter bin in front of the campus
The lichen-rich litter bin in front of the campus

Bryophyte Lichen Trip report

Glenamara trip report 11-12-22

Bryophyte report below.

Sub-zero licheneering at Glenamara Park, Patterdale

It was well below zero at the carpark with a thin layer of unmelted snow from a previous day on the frozen ground and a thick coating of frost crystals covering everything– surely it wouldn’t be possible to find anything and, more to the point, could we survive the cold? We set off uphill, fat with many layers of clothing, and warmed up slowly. This strategy of a short walk between trees followed by standing around looking at lichens seemed to work and we stayed out until dusk at 4pm.

Glenamara was originally a deer park, dating from the 16th – 17th centuries and covering about 70 hectares of a north-facing upland valley by Ullswater. The National Trust acquired the site in 2002 and shortly afterwards replaced sheep with a small number of hardy cattle as sheep grazing was completely suppressing tree regeneration. Today there are scattered old birch, alder, oak and ash with some hazel, hawthorn and interesting “wild” apple/crab apple trees (Malus sylvestris), but we saw no sign as yet of new trees coming through.

Neil Sanderson surveyed the site for the NT in 2016. He described it as upland pasture woodland and concluded that the only lichen habitat well-represented is that of acid bark communities (Parmelion laevigatae), “due to the past impact of acidifying pollution”, ie acid rain, as well as natural high rainfall acidification (higher than at other sites around Ullswater). He identified only relict base-rich bark (Lobarion pulmonariae) and smooth-bark (Graphidetum scriptae) communities with few species present, as well as small numbers of dry lignum specialists (Calicietum abietinae) – dead wood is well represented at the site.

We had a few of Neil’s locations for interesting crustose species but failed to find them – or perhaps we just didn’t recognise them – so we reverted to the tried and tested method of checking out good-looking trees. Old birch had lovely common acidic bark species, like Ochrolechia tartarea and Mycoblastus sanguinarius, as well as Parmeliopsis hyperopta, a tiny grey foliose species with globose clumps of soredia which isn’t often seen in Cumbria (or most of England). Scattered ash trees had Hypotrachyna taylorensis, new to the Ullswater area, as well as Normandina acroglypta and Catillaria nigroclavata. Diminutive Rinodina sophodes was seen on ash twigs and the equally small apothecia of Dimerella pineti on Malus sylvestris.

A mature oak near the boundary wall at the north edge of the site had a good population of pale Ochrolechia subviridis on the trunk, the granular isidia/soredia showing C+red but no apothecia to be seen. Allan Pentecost had showed us this species in 2019 on an oak lower down beside the playing field, fertile with lovely frosted pruinose discs with isidiate margins. Today’s tree also had Bryobilimbia sanguineoatra, with red-brown apothecia becoming convex with age, growing over moss, as well as a streak of buff-coloured Pyrrhospora quernea.

In the end we had a list of 50-60 species, depending on how the specimens work out, but we wandered over only about a quarter of the site. A return visit as usual may be needed once there’s a thaw and the days are longer.

Text: Caz Walker. Photos: Caz Walker, Chris Cant, Belinda Lloyd, Pete Martin

Glenamara Bryophyte Report

Five hardy bryologists ventured into Glenamara’s frosty wood pasture on a beautiful crisp Sunday morning. The site lies entirely within tetrad NY31X, but straddles all four monads. Due to the conditions the group spent the entire day within monad NY3815. Surprisingly for its location, only 7 species appear to have been recorded for the tetrad in the past so there was a lot to do…

Snow obscured much of the ground so we gravitated towards Hag Beck which was still flowing, and most of the records came from here. After ticking off some commoner grassland species, we started to investigate the beck itself.

Marchantia polymorpha ssp polymorpha proved to be the most ubiquitous thallose liverwort on vertical soil banks all along the beck, with very little Pellia sp present. Plagiochila spinulosa was also found here, together with Fissidens dubius, Trichostomum tenuirostre and Scapania undulata. Platyhypnidium riparoides and Hygrohypnum luridum were common on boulders in the beck itself, together with Thamnobryum alopecuroides, and small bright green patches of Lejeunea patens. Vertical rock above the water-line had cushions of Amphidium mougeotii. Following the beck upstream we found small base-rich areas with Ctenidium molluscum and Tortella tortuosa. Unfortunately, the flushes here were mostly covered with snow, however Sphagnum rusowii and Leiocolea bantriensis were found suggesting that these areas would merit another look. Lunch was necessarily brief due to the penetrating cold, however it did allow us to time to appreciate the stunning views down Ullswater. Two very confiding robins also came to investigate us and hoover up any crumbs. Further up the beck, water was still flowing in several flushes. Green cushions of Blindia acuta were found here together with Palustriella commutata, Hookeria lucens, Rhizomnium punctatum, Cratoneruon filicinum and Riccardia chamaedryfolia. Abundant dead wood was mostly snow-covered, but Riccardia palmata and Tetraphis pellucida were found. By about 2.30 fog started rolling down over Trough Head, so rather than start recording in a new monad we headed down the valley again to find the lichen group. On the way down, Frullania fragilifolia was found on a large Ash tree, its distinctive ‘pear-drops’ scent apparent even in the cold. Having seen no Bazzania trilobata all day, a small patch was located near the beck below the public footpath. As the light was fading,  a tiny Lophozia with red gemmae was found on a very large oak tree on the northern boundary. This could be L. excisa or possibly L. longidens, and has been sent to a referee for determination.

Altogether just over 90 species were recorded, but this would undoubtedly have been higher without the snow. A further visit is clearly required.

Kerry Milligan

Bryophyte Lichen Trip report

Scales Wood trip report 16-10-22

Lichen Report

With remarkable timing, our field trip to Scales Wood near Buttermere had a break in the weather, sandwiched between days of rain. Although a long journey for many, we had a good turnout with a mixture of beginners and more experienced group members.  The site is a good oceanic north-east facing wood primarily of acid-barked oak and birch set between 100m and 300m above sea level. We went up through the vegetated boulder field to about half-way up as the sessile oaks give way to birch, and eventually found over 80 lichen species on the mossy trees, rocks and outcrops. This figure includes a few species on the stone bridge at the edge of the site, with Placynthium nigrum on the mortar for example.

Star of the show was the rare oceanic Parmelinopsis horrescens known from Scales Wood as its most northerly location in the UK: nationally scarce and near threatened. One of the Parmelia group, it has grey-green lobes with no pseudocyphellae but with conspicuous isidia and black cilia on the upper surface. It blended in with the other foliose lichens on the twigs and bark, so required careful inspection to find it. We checked that it did the expected KC+ pink reaction. It’s not been seen elsewhere in the Lakes, but perhaps we need to look harder. There is an even rarer P. minarum which looks the same, with no cilia but has a C+ pink medulla.  Parmelia ernstiae was present as well: this looks similar, also without cilia.

The site is designated as an SSSI primarily because it is the largest and least modified example of highly oceanic birch-sessile oak woodland in the Lake District. At its last assessment in 2014, it was in unfavourable condition (no change) due to poor wood structure ie a lack of tree regeneration as there was no stock-proof barrier. As per the survey, we found plenty of dead wood but very few saplings and a couple of sheep present. This issue of under grazing or over-grazing is tricky: too much grazing and there’s no re-gen; too little and the base of trees and ground flora can be shaded, which will affect some lichens. Only slow re-gen is needed, but I think we’ll have to accept some shading if we want new trees to grow so the wood can survive in the long term.  Thankfully we saw no Rhododendron.  And happily there was no sign of nitrogen enrichment in the main wood ie no Xanthoria or Phaeophyscia, with only one instance of Physcia tenella next to the farmland. The birches higher up were reminiscent of the west coast of Scotland, with a lush Parmelion community covering every inch of bark.  We found oceanic specialist Hypotrachyna taylorensis on one oak. We didn’t re-find the only Cumbria record of “Lob scrob” from 1961 – always a long shot.

There were plenty of opportunities for learning, with Parmelia, Flavoparmelia caperata, Ochrolechia tartarea, O. androgyna and Mycoblastus sanguinarius present, along with plentiful Hypotrachyna laevigata with one instance found fertile. Micarea can be tricky but we found relatively distinctive M. alabastrites with white apothecia (C+ red) on several trees and M. stipitata with white stalked pycnidia.  Cladonia caespiticia was found with its distinctive mushroom-like apothecia. Lovely mounds of Cladonia were deemed to be fertile C. subcervicornis after some wrestling with the key. And fertile Cladonia parasitica was found on dead wood with an instant K+ yellow reaction along with Pd+ deep yellow. Bunodophoron melanocarpum was present on rock and birch. This, along with several species fertile, means many happy lichens.

The happy lichenologists, looking back at the wood, saw many unexplored areas to either side – plenty of scope for further visits…

Text and photos, Chris Cant

Bryophyte Report

Despite Scales Wood being one of the largest and least modified examples of oceanic woodland in the Lake District, and an SSSI for that reason, it is surprising that only 41 species or bryophyte appear have been recorded for the tetrad. Our group of six therefore set out with modest expectations, but determined to fill some gaps in the records.

Once over the bridge, our first stop at a large rock gave us all the opportunity for some revision of commoner species and produced the first interesting liverwort of the day, Orthocaulis (Barbilophozia) atlantica with its striking red gemmae. Hyocomium armoricum was also found in a small watercourse here. Moving up the steep slope into the woodland, the abundance of bryophytes on trees, rocks and the ground soon became apparent, suggesting this was going to be a very interesting wood. Early finds included Hylocomiastrum umbratum, Bazzania trilobata, Plagiochila spinulosa and  Saccogyna viticulosa . Scapania gracilis was extremely common on tree trunks and on rocks, together with extensive carpets and frequent hummocks of Sphagnum species  (particularly S palustre and S quinquefarium) on the ground all indicating just how humid the woodland is. Precipitation here is over 2 metres per year!  Several trees with the characteristic ‘brackets’ of Plagiochila punctata were also found. Dead wood had surprising amounts of the tiny Scapania umbrosa, together with Riccardia palmata and Cephalozia (Nowellia) curvifolia.

As we got higher and deeper into the wood, more exciting finds were made. Large areas of the slope are occupied by block scree covered in a carpet of bryophytes with Wilson’s Filmy-fern Hymenophyllum wilsonii quite frequent. Bazzania tricrenata, initially spotted as a tiny clump, was soon being found regularly, often growing through other liverworts such as Mylia taylorii. Anastrepta orcadensis was also quite frequent, its red gemmae giving it a superficial resemblance to Orthocaulis atlantica, but quite obvious differences in leaf shape and orientation were visible on closer inspection. We also found good patches of Hageniella micans, a moss which in England is only known from here and Borrowdale. The real star finds were Harpanthus scutatus, which is mentioned in the SSSI citation, and one tiny patch of Pseudomarsupidium (Adelanthus) decipiens, possibly a new location for this species.

Towards the end of the day we reached Near Ruddy Beck hoping for some different species. Sadly we did not find Jubula hutchinsae which has been recorded in the wood, but did find Andrea hookeri (alpina) growing on a boulder, and possibly Plagiochila bifaria growing on a log overhanging the beck. Heading down out of the woodland towards the track home, we crossed a boggy area with a range of different Sphagnum species, including  S papillosum, S inundatum, S compactum and possibly S platyphyllum, which if confirmed would be the first record for VC70.

The final tally for the day was nearly 80 species (with several samples still awaiting examination). All in all, a most enjoyable visit to an exceptional wood.

Kerry Milligan

Photos: CS=Clare Shaw, KM=Kerry Milligan

Bryophyte Lichen Trip report

Sunbiggin Tarn trip report 14-8-22


It seems to be an annual occurrence now: to have a field trip during very hot dry weather. A couple of attendees had sensibly dropped out in advance. We started off in the open on the limestone at the edge of Little Asby Scar, but retreated into the shade of the hawthorns next to Sunbiggin Tarn until we boiled off at 3pm.

The day was one of a series of events in August to celebrate the life of Frank Dobson who died in December 2021. He wrote several lichen books including the essential “Lichens: An Illustrated Guide to the British and Irish Species” now in its seventh edition in 2018. This is a vital part of any lichen outing with keys and information on morphology and chemistry to help identify lichens in the field and when back at base eg using microscopes. On this trip, we had three “Dobsons” on the go at one point trying to work out an id. The British Lichen Society (BLS) will be updating this guide book in due course, no doubt including recent taxonomic changes.

The limestone had some nice usual suspects such as Caloplaca flavescens, Dermatocarpon miniatum, Placynthium nigrum, Protoblastenia rupestris and Squamarina cartilaginea. We spent some time on a Lecanora but didn’t come to a conclusion.

Sue found some perithecia with a black on white cracked crust, which she recognised as potentially being Acrocordia conoidea. Back at base, Chris and Caz eventually concluded that it must be a Verrucaria as it had simple spores that weren’t uniseriate in the ascus – and keyed out a tentative species identification, but the experts we consulted weren’t convinced. Verrucaria species can be tricky to identify, especially where there’s a crust of algae or cyanobacteria on top, as in this case.

Near the tarn, we found some shade for lunch behind a dry-stone wall which sported some more lichens for id. After that we moved to the nearby hawthorns which can be a good habitat for lichens, though the thorns do make it harder to look. There were a couple of instances of the large Ramalina fraxinea along with the more common R. fastigiata and R. farinacea, along with similar looking Evernia prunastri. It was good to hide in the shade, using Dobson to key out some species.

Nearby there was some earthy limestone with some Cladonia species on the edge of the rocks. We saw Toninia verrucarioides growing on top of Placynthium nigrum, along with a dry Leptogium pulvinatum.

We ended up with almost 50 species identified. It is always a pleasure to share a lichen enthusiasm with others in the field.

Text and photos: Chris Cant


I didn’t have very high hopes of the outing to Sunbiggin Tarn. The forecast was for another very hot day, and although there had been some rain a few days before, it seemed likely that the bryophytes would be dry and tightly curled against the heat. However, four of us had braved the hot conditions and it was good to meet up and to be outdoors.

We parked in the big layby above the Tarn, just west of Little Asby, and started with a look at the remains of limestone pavement to the east of the layby. It was good to familiarise ourselves with some typical limestone species including Neckera crispa, Ctenidium molluscum, Grimmia pulvinata, Scapania aspera, Tortula muralis, Tortella tortuosa, Syntrichia montana, Hypnum lacunosum and Homalothecium sericeum. More surprising was Climacium dendroides, usually a species of damp places. David and Andy found some interesting wispy species, and consulting our field guides we decided they were likely to be Flexitrichum gracile and flexicaule (previously both in the Ditrichum genus). Both are lime-loving species and F. gracile is commonly found on limestone grassland, but F. flexicaule is much rarer and restricted mainly to limestone rocks. In this case it was distinctive, with many stiff, upright stems as shown in the field guide photos and described as ‘thin, deciduous branches with short leaves’. Microscope examination confirmed this ID, with the F. flexicaule shoots showing relatively short leaves on the longer shoots. Leaf sections ofthis species also showed a more abrupt transition between the leaf lamina and the costa compared to F. gracile, where you can’t see a clear ‘edge’ to the costa.

Flexitrichum flexicaule
Flexitrichum flexicaule growing through Ctenidium molluscum
Flexitrichum flexicaule leaf
Flexitrichum flexicaule leaf section
Flexitrichum gracile leaf section

Once we felt we’d seen most of the species we were likely to find here, we drove down to the tarn and went to investigate the boggy area west of the road and down to Tarn Sike. The ground was not exactly boggy, but still damp enough for the bryophytes to be holding on. There were a few Sphagnum species (S. capillifolium, S. subnitens, S. palustre), also Breutelia chrysocoma, Aneura pinguis, Palustriella commutata and falcata, Scorpidium scorpioides and cossonii, Aulacomium palustre. There was a tiny rivulet of still-running water where we were pleased to spot Calliergon gigantea in several patches. There were extensive patches of a blackish Jungermannia liverwort, probably J. atrovirens or pumila, but impossible to definitively identify without perianths. J atrovirens according to the field guide is most common in limestone districts, but both are sometimes found together.

Calliergon gigantea
The big stem leaves are very distinctive and clearly visible between the branches.

We made our way down to the road, passing some lovely autumn gentian, and from there down to the tarn, where we enjoyed the cool shade of a few trees. There were a few epiphytes there: Ulota phylantha, Ulota crispa, Frullania dilatata, Metzgeria fruticulosa, and a spectacular, very large Puss moth caterpillar spotted by Kerry. At the edge of the tarn was some Fontinalis antipyretica. By now it was about 2 o’clock and getting seriously hot, so we agreed to call it a day and headed back towards the cars. But we were soon distracted by a large boggy area with more Palustriella commutata and cushions of Philonotis fontana, where we were also excited to find some really good areas of Philonotis calcarea. There were actually several patches, looking really healthy and very distinctively curved to one side.

Philonotis calcarea

So all in all, it was a surprisingly good day and we were very happy with the interesting finds, though the species list is likely to be quite limited.

Text and photos: Clare Shaw

Bryophyte Lichen Trip report

Brantwood trip report 18-03-22


A beautiful spring day saw a record turnout for a visit to Brantwood, the home of John Ruskin from 1871 to 1900. The Brantwood Estate covers nearly 90 hectares with a range of different habitats present from lakeshore and garden to oak woodland, gills, mires and upland heath. The general objective of the day was to visit each of these habitats if possible, and generate a decent list of species.

After a general introduction in the orchard, nine bryologists and five enthusiastic estate staff headed into the gardens, leaving the lichenologists examining the apple trees. The short walk from the car park to the Moss Garden produced 38 species, mostly common garden bryophytes but with some good woodland species too such as Dicranum majus and Nowellia curvifolia, plus indicators of base-rich rock and soil, such as Ctenidium molluscum, Neckera complanata and Tortella tortuosa. In the Moss Garden a lush carpet of mostly Rhytidiadelphus loreus under wide spaced oaks produced a stunning visual effect, despite (or perhaps because of) the dominance of one species. Closer inspection revealed several other species here including Tetraphis pellucida on a dead tree stump.

The group then moved swiftly on to Beck Leven, the watercourse which marks the southern boundary of the estate. Oceanic species such as Jubula hutchinsae, Hyocomium armoricum, Plagiochila spinulosa, Platyhypnidium riparoides, and Saccogyna viticulosa were all readily found, together with other more widespread but distinctive mosses of wet places such as Hookeria lucens, Thamnobryum alopecurum and Dichodontium pellucidum. A nice patch of Jamesoniella autumnalis was found on a nearby oak. After lunch, we followed the beck up onto Crag Head, a large intake which includes the highest point on the estate (230m). Fantastic views across Coniston Water to the Old Man and Wetherlam were a temporary distraction until we found the first of a series of mires which produced several sphagna (Sphagnum subnitens, S. capillifolium and S. papillosum) together with Aulocomium palustre and Breutelia chrysocoma. A larger mire with bog pools proved to be more base-rich with Sphagnum contortum, Scorpidium revolvens and S cossonii, and Campylium stellatum. Thuidium delicatulum and Dicranum bonjeanii were also found here.

Descending back through the woods, a small overhanging rockface produced one of the best records for the day, a single patch of Bartramia halleriana with capsules. Our last habitat to visit was the lakeshore. Fontinalis antipyretica was found to be abundant just below the waterline, whilst Cinclidotus fontinalis was frequent on rocks. A small rocky headland gave a last minute boost to the species list with Frullania fragilifolia, Pterogonium gracile, and Trichostomum brachydontium.

At the end of the day, a small group of bryologists and lichenologists reconvened at Brantwood’s Terrace cafe for a much needed cup of tea. A total of 119 bryophytes were recorded on the estate. Many thanks to Brantwood for hosting the visit, and to their staff for their enthusiasm and for making us so welcome.

Kerry Milligan – photos from Kerry Milligan and Clare Shaw


A large group including nine lichenologists gathered at Brantwood, 19th century home of John Ruskin, on the east shore of Coniston on a fine spring day. We were joined for a while by estate staff who were keen to find out what lichens and bryophytes they have. There have been no lichen records for Brantwood since 1965 when 42 species were recorded. First stop was the apple orchard, with a dozen small fruit trees grey with bushy lichens and a simple wooden fence equally covered with thalli. Pete gave the group a brief introduction to lichens and found plenty of examples to illustrate the main growth forms. We then recorded as many species as we could, a total of 29 lichens on trees and fence.

What happened next was a new experience for the group – a visit to the cafe for coffee and cake – followed by the more familiar episode of getting absorbed by car park lichens on stone retaining walls including Scytinium teretiusculum. Eventually we tore ourselves away and headed uphill, through the gardens, to the oak woods on the slopes above. Pete was nursing an injured knee so stayed on level ground, talking to the staff and visiting the lake shore where he found Candelaria concolor on ash, along with other lichens.

The oaks above the house looked even-aged as if planted 100-200 years ago, with an understory of hazel, holly and an occasional ash and hawthorn. Most trees had acidic bark, based on the lichen flora we saw, but there was plenty to admire including Parmelia ernstiae, Micarea alabastrites, Arthonia spadicea, Anisomeridium ranunculosporum and a good range of acidic habitat species. The beginners in the group were keen to look at the tiny features on many of the lichens, such as the coarse and fine soredia on Hypotrachyna afrorevoluta and H revoluta.

The boundary wall between wood and field had a good range of crustose lichens including Trapelia coarctata and Opegrapha gyrocarpa, while that on the opposite side of the field had Coenogonium luteum on moss, Baeomyces rufus, Diploschistes scruposus and Psilolechia lucida, amongst others. A birch in the field gave us Graphis elegans and Fuscidea lightfootii and a hazel inside the next strip of woodland was heaving with Normandina pulchella and Thelotrema lepadinum. We looked at crustose aquatic lichens in the beck for a while and kept an eye open for Dermatocarpon luridum  having heard a rumour from the bryologists, who’d been there earlier, that itwas spotted but we didn’t see that.

Before heading back towards the car park we visited an oak obviously larger and older than the others – just as well as it had several small patches of Parmeliella triptophylla on the north side of the trunk illustrating the point that oaks can become less acid-barked with age.

Some of the group were lured back to the cafe for a second time before leaving which sets a worrying precedent for future trips…..

Footnote: Pete’s specimens from the lakeshore included one which later turned out to be Normandina acroglypta. So far the total of species seen in all locations stands at about 90 with a few more possible once specimens are examined.

Caz Walker with photos from Judith Allinson, Pete Martin and Chris Cant

Bryophyte Lichen

Bryophyte and Lichen Training, February 2022

Thanks to funding from Natural England and extra funding support from the British Lichen Society, we were able to run two-day training sessions in February 2022 for both bryologists and lichenologists. The funding also included the purchase of microscopes which will be held by Cumbria Biodiversity Data Centre available for loans; we expect to have these available at our forthcoming indoor id sessions. The funding also includes the purchase of textbooks and equipment sundries, also available to group members.

Bryophyte training

On Wednesday 16th February, nine people interested in furthering their bryological identification skills via microscopy met at the Borrowdale Institute, Rosthwaite. Two aspects of the venue were ideal: firstly, its immediate proximity to some outstanding bryophyte assemblages in the local area (the “Atlantic temperate rainforest”, which thankfully is receiving more publicity in recent times via the work of Plantlife, Natural England and other bodies), and secondly, the splendidly refurbished Herdwick Suite itself, which was bright, well-appointed and spot on. It is important to thank David Freeman (of Natural England) for his work in organising the training, and also Natural England itself, for funding the activity.

            The training’s linchpin was Nick Hodgetts, who was our expert instructor. He, (I have to say), wore his extraordinary depth of knowledge and identification skills lightly, along with an affable and enthusiastic demeanour, throughout the two-day event: he helped in equal measure the least experienced of us, and the most, judging expertly how to support each person’s efforts. Here’s how the training unfolded……

            0900hrs, arrivals. David (and Clare Shaw, who deserves all our thanks for her admin and bryological support) had already prepped the room with suitable tables, chairs and electrical supply. We each brought our own ‘scopes (stereo and compound and associated kit). There was additional kit comprising good-quality (brand new!) ‘scopes, slides, pipettes, and other paraphernalia, via the generous support of Natural England and CBDC. Nick had brought in addition, a reference arsenal of bryology textbooks laid out to the front, which we all enjoyed perusing (and using for ID information).

            0930hrs, introductions and planning. We decided, as a group, to use the first few hours on a field visit to Johnny’s Wood, a 10-minute walk away, to collect samples for ID. Clare had prepped some of her own grid references for interesting species, so we made our way to an area with Hageniella micans, Herbertus aduncus, Bazzania tricrenata… all three of which (and many, many more species) were located and enjoyed. Nick pointed out species as they appeared, and took “requests” also. A recurring theme of the field visits was that if anyone mentioned they were keeping an eye out for a target species, Nick would then nonchalantly find it in minutes, explain the key ID features, and move off to help another group member. We knew heavy rain was on its way, and it duly arrived.

            1200hrs, squelched back to the Institute, de-kitted wet clothes, and got stuck into microscopy-aided ID of various specimens. Nick and Clare helpfully laid out some named examples at the front, plus some ID challenges for us. A few hours passed in the blink of an eye.

            1430hrs, Nick demonstrated and explained practical sectioning of leaves, then we all practised. More ID work enjoyably followed. Then, Nick led us in a guided talk-through of how to use a key based on leaf morphology (from Watson 2nd Ed) to accurately ID an unknown target sample – I think the whole group enjoyed and benefited from this action (which was repeated with other samples later). The rest of the afternoon’s session was individual ID work, supported by Nick and with a good measure of cooperative self-help between people also. Session closed around 1630hrs for some (needing to travel home) and nearer 1730hrs+ for those of us staying locally.

            0930hrs Thursday 17th February (day 2), a repeat of day 1. This time better weather. David selected a different part of the Johnny’s Wood site for us to visit, with the primary target species being Anastrepta orcadensis. A 20 minute walk-in saw us at the bottom of a gentle N-facing wooded slope…. which as we made our slow way up it, turned into a steeper, wooded boulder field, containing one of the most delightful and luxurious bryophyte-filled habitats I’ve ever seen. David found us the Anastrepta, and Nick continued to find us a rich variety of interesting species. And, to be fair, each of us worked on our own IDs, too. For example, Jim noted several species he then called the group’s attention to, as did Clare and Peter. For example, the group discussed (and saw) various Frullanias, including F fragilifolia (found) and F teneriffae (which we thought we may have found, but subsequent microscopical work proved that we hadn’t – a perfect example of why microscopy is invaluable in bryology ID.) We did see Scapania umbrosa, Lepidozia pearsonii, Thuidium spp, some Sphagna including subnitens, and others.

            1300hrs back to the Institute. The whole afternoon, more ‘scope work, more sectioning, and another interesting exemplar use of a key. Nick also agreed to support ID of various specimens some of us had brought along. The weather was, however, deteriorating and snow was forecast to come in. Hence, we all agreed that discretion would be the better option, and the training closed down around 1530hrs for some, and not much later for all. A spirited (and rapid) group effort saw the kit disassembled and packed up, tables wiped, stacked and the room made ready for departure.

            In summary, I feel all participants developed their skills and their confident enjoyment of microscopical work with bryophytes. The whole atmosphere was warm, purposeful and relaxed; a good place to finish is to once more thank Nick Hodgetts for all his work, thank Natural England for the grant, and to note that all of us will be looking forwards to the next CLBG bryo event.

Gary Lawrence

Photos from Clare Shaw

Lichen Training

To identify some lichens to species you need to look at the thallus, fruit and pycnidia under microscopes, typically doing sections using a razor blade at low magnification under a “dissecting microscope”, then using a “compound microscope” to look at the microscopic details at higher magnification – more info.

Two days of microscope training from John Douglass aimed to ensure everyone could do the basics, moving on to cover more advanced techniques that are helpful.

The course was held in Mungrisdale Village hall, where the facilities were excellent. The 10 attendees each had a table for themselves, giving plenty of space for microscopes and other equipment. These were well spaced out, which contributed to an atmosphere where concentration was needed to practise what was being taught.

The sessions covered:

  1. Squashes, sections and spores. Including identifying and measuring the different layers, dealing with pycnidia, applying K & C under cover slips & oil immersion
  2. Identifying ascus tips & staining, including use of ink/vinegar and Lugol’s Iodine to stain the medulla.
  3. Use of polarising filters to see crystals.
  4. Identifying photobionts – algae and cyanobacteria

In spite of having read about these aspects it was really helpful to see the techniques demonstrated and have dedicated time to try them out. There is no short cut to making thin sections other than practise and a sharp razor blade. John Douglass was on hand to show us various refinements to the techniques such as the amounts of chemicals to use, how to apply them and how to transfer sections of apothecia. It takes endless patience which he certainly has. John and others brought previously identified specimens for participants to practise on which helpfully gave known outcomes.

The meeting provided a much needed opportunity to obtain polarising filters, chemicals and dropper bottles. These events take a lot of organising, much of which is “unseen” and so thanks to John, Caz and Chris plus the funders who enabled this to happen.

These sessions gave people confidence to have a go at microscopy in a supportive atmosphere and to realise that it is do-able.

Some comments from attendees:

  • “I was so glad I managed to get to the microscope training. It’s something I’ve wanted to do for a couple of years now.”
  • “A very big thank you to everyone who helped to arrange and deliver the microscope training this week.
    “What did I learn? First, that microscope work on lichens is doable. It’s fiddly, and it may go wrong, but you just have to get stuck in and try again. And second, everyone struggles at times; it isn’t just me.
    “But when it works, it opens up a whole new world, and I begin to see how it will make a big difference. I might even be able to follow Dobson’s main key now!”
  • “For the last couple of years I have been trying to pluck up courage to buy microscopes. As a complete technophobe could I even cope with setting them up?  Then this workshop appeared and it was the push I needed. 
    “The workshop was a fantastic help. A refresher on some things, some new ideas and great support from everyone. It was really helpful to see other people’s work and get a better grip on what we were looking at.  John’s PowerPoint presentations were very clear and he was incredibly helpful.
    “My find of the day turned out not to be a lichen at all!”
  • “Very informative and inspiring! Many thanks.”
  • “A week on from the event, I’m fired up to try out sectioning and staining lichens. I’m really looking forward to any follow ups.”
  • “I’d be keen to attend the saxicolous crust training when it happens- I’m keen to start learning these, so I will look out for emails.”

Bryophyte Lichen Trip report

Thorneythwaite Trip report 20-01-22


The Bryophyte contingent was smaller than recently with only four attending on a super blue-sky day. Thornythwaite Wood is owned by the National Trust and is considered one of their top five woods in Borrowdale for bryophytes.  Ben Averis produced an excellent bryophyte report for NT in 2017 and included target notes, grid refs and photos of many of the rarer species. We therefore decided to break with tradition and head directly to find interesting species none of us had seen before.

Thornythwaite Wood has more of the look of a fellside with scattered trees than a closed canopy woodland. This enabled us to walk to the target location without stopping as the bracken-covered fell had limited interest. 

Our first stop was Combe Beck just above the waterfall. Here the beck was braided with numerous boulders. Clare and Gary quickly found a boulder on an island in the beck with Gymnomitrium crenulatum and Gymnomitrium obtusum growing in quantity next to each other. Clare then found Scapania compacta growing close by. We all had a good look and enjoyed this species, also found by Kerry at Glencoyne. As is typical of groups and rarer plants, whilst we all looked at the same boulder, some of the photos and specimens may well have been of other Scapanias. The compacta was later confirmed. (An additional species to Ben Averis’s very impressive list of 177 species.)

Other species seen around here included Hyocomium armoricum, Lophozia incisa and Scapania gracilis.

 We then headed down stream past the waterfall to a rock detailed in Ben’s report on the west side of the beck facing east just below the waterfall. The photo helped to confirm the correct boulder.  On this boulder we all enjoyed seeing Colura calyptrifolia on the vertical face. This rare species is very small but also distinctive. On this same rock was Harpalejeunea molleri and a long list of other species including Lejeunea patens. Nearby we also saw Plagiochila spinulosa and Hygrohypnum eugyrium.

We then headed up the hillside to another Ben Averis location. Gary lead us directly to Ben’s location for Adelanthus decipiens which we all admired and photographed. Only one clump. Just below it were a scratty few strands of Sematophyllum micans, mentioned in Ben’s report. We were fairly doubtful but Gary confirmed one strand later.

We then walked south and climbed towards Glaramara and then headed west down into the valley above Seathwaite Bridge. We then followed a small gill down the steep fellside towards further Ben Averis locations. On the way we saw Mylia taylorii, Frullania tamarisci growing unusually in a wet flush, and Sphagnum inundatum (but not conclusively identified!).

Using Ben’s photos we located Bartramia halleriana which unfortunately lacked capsules making recognition more of a challenge. Nearby was Plagiochila punctata. We looked carefully for Herbertus hutchinsiae but despite having a photo and grid ref we couldn’t locate. This distinctive drought intolerant species was possibly much reduced by last years dry spring and summer.

We then headed further down the same slope and located another Ben Averis site, a stone by the stream under an ash tree. This had some good colonies of Plagiochila exigua which would appear to have increased in quantity from 2017. This was also a new species for us all which we were very pleased to see. A rare but distinctive species. The stone also supported Lejeunea patens and Lejeunea cavifolia. In this general area we also saw Hygrohypnum subeugyrium and Fontinalis antipyretica.

As the sun was about to set we headed down the slope and walked along the footpath back to the car park. Thornythwaite Wood is a very good bryophyte location and we all felt it would be worth a further visit. 

Peter Bullard

Photos by Gary Lawrence and Clare Shaw


On a cold and frosty morning, seven lichen hunters gathered in the car park at Thorneythwaite. And quickly realized we were on the cold and shady side of Borrowdale, as golden sun lit up the fells and Seathwaite woods. Ho hum. The frost never melted for us all day.

Ivan Day had compiled a site list for the National Trust in 2017, so we were following in illustrious footsteps. And it was obvious that we weren’t going to be able to cover anything like the whole of the area. So where should we go? Well, we started off with the nearest area: the acid-barked oaks at the north end of the wood. There were some good examples of the Parmelion community, including coral-like Sphaerophorus globosus and leafy Cetrelia olivetorum, red-flecked Mycoblastus sanguinarius and the chunky jam tarts of Ochrolechia tartarea.  We found good quantities of the barnacle-like Thelotrema lepadinum. A new species for the site was Micarea alabastrites, with white apothecia and a C+red reaction. The trees proved ideal for showing less-experienced members of the group some important lichen features. They, in turn, noticed that we performed a dance around a tree in the sun. By-catch included an impressive moth that turned out to be a Spring Usher.

After a lunchtime sitting in the relative warmth of the sun , we headed off back into the shade in search of an ash tree where Caz had found Nephroma laevigatum some years ago. If you don’t know it, it’s a smooth and leafy member of the Lobarion community. And it wasn’t on Ivan’s list. We found ash trees and Peltigera horizontalis, and more Thelotrema lepadinum. Heading south there were more hazels, which gave us Pachyphiale carneola. Protopannaria pezizoides was found on a mossy log: it well deserves its name of “lentil bake lichen”. And we disturbed a barn owl (sorry, but how was I to know there was a hole in the back of the tree I was looking at?).

We had a grid ref for Caz’s Nephroma, but that covered 100m x 100m of slow-to-move-across boulders and trees. Chris found an old ash pollard with the antiseptic smelling Parmeliella triptophylla: maybe we were getting close. We headed up slope a little and then came the cry from Paul: had he found the Nephroma? Yes, there it was, with a little more Parmeliella and lots of Normandina pulchellaThelotrema lepadinum and Peltigera horizontalis on the same tree: a good example of the Lobarion community.

Time was getting on: but maybe there was enough light to try for the Sticta sylvatica Ivan had found in 2017? We contoured further south, passed the bryologists in the beck and came to the old elm under which the Sticta had lingered on an outcrop. But, sad to say, the elm had toppled over, and we couldn’t find any sign of the Sticta. There was lots of the frilly jelly lichen Leptogium lichenoides however, and the similar but smaller L. teretiusculum.

The journey back to the cars through lovely evening light gave us more Nephroma laevigatum on another ash pollard. A barn owl flew across; was it the same one as earlier? Thorneythwaite had proved to be a great site, with plenty of scope for other visits. But then we seem to say that every time we go anywhere!

Pete Martin

2017 video of Ivan Day on Thorneythwaite’s rare lichens:

Photos by Chris Cant, Pete Martin, Geoffrey Haigh and John Adams