What, Where and When

The crucial information is What, Where and When.

Please give a grid reference (GR) for each sighting – for general records, doing it at monad level is OK eg NY5410.

  • If you don’t get a GR at the time, find the location on StreetMap and then use the convert coordinates option.
  • Your mobile phone may be able to give you a good grid reference if its GPS is switched on – some phones are better at this than others.
  • Apps can record routes and points of interest while displaying a 10 figure grid reference.
  • Photos taken on phones can set be set up to record the location. (A Magniband or similar can help you take close up photos on a phone.)
  • Some digital cameras such as Olympus TG-4 or later also record the grid reference for each photo, though these may not be spot on.
  • Chris’ PhotoGridRef tool for Windows can be used to show a photo’s grid reference.
  • If it good to note which Vice-County you are in – use this tool to work this out from a grid reference. Cumbria is basically VC69 and VC70, with some of VC65 in the south east.
PhotoGridRef shows the grid reference stored when a photo taken.
PhotoGridRef shows the grid reference stored when a photo taken.
ViewRanger screenshot showing routes and points of interest
ViewRanger screenshot showing routes and points of interest


If you are certain of the species, then please report your sightings by filling in a spreadsheet and submitting to the British Lichen Society (BLS). (Note that there is currently no lichen verifier at iRecord so records reported there will languish.)

Follow the instructions at to download spreadsheets from here: eg the General Recording Spreadsheet. Please ask if you want advice on filling this in.

If you can, please record the substrate eg on an ash tree is “Cort” substrate and “CFx” as the small scale habitat. Record any chemical test results in Record notes field.


The instructions on the British Bryological Society recording pages are very thorough and I recommend reading the pages under the recording tab on the BBS website, particularly the subsection ‘Resources for recorders’.

For recording in the field, you can download a card from this page in the section with hyperlinks shown below. You can print out a batch of sheets (Middle Britain for Cumbria) and use them to tick off the species you find when you are out recording. For anything you are not confident about, you should take a small sample home to check under the microscope.

BBS Sheet List

To submit records that you have confidently identified, you can download an electronic recording card, complete it electronically and email it to the recorder. To download a recording page, go to this page of the website.

Under the heading ‘Electronic data cards for bryophytes’, click on the hyperlink to download the zip file. For species found in Cumbria, you will need the Middle Britain recording card. The zipfile also includes an example completed card.

Records for Vice county 69 (Westmorland) should be sent to Andy McLay,

Records for Vice county 70 (Cumberland) should be sent to Clare Shaw

If you have problems with any of this please ask using the contact email or by posting on the Facebook page.