The Group was recently able to host its first event since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, a walk exploring the plant life on the Roundton Nature Reserve near Churchstoke. 

Numbers on the walk were limited to minimise the Covid risk, but the small group who booked their places thoroughly enjoyed being shown local flowers, grasses, sedges and other plants by local plant expert Rob Rowe.

He explained how the range of species found was heavily influenced by the dolerite rock underlying the reserve. Among the highlights spotted were adder’s tongue fern, hairy St John’s wort and three varieties of orchid.

It was great to see the more experienced members being generous with their time helping those who were keen to learn. Although we all brought a drink and a nibble, Rob’s suggested stop for tea never happened as we kept finding interesting plants and before we knew it, we had run almost an hour over the planned time!

Rob mentioned that there should be adder’s tongue fern which are very short and small plants that are very difficult to find in long grass. Soon after, one member started jumping up and down with excitement, having found several of them. Once we got our eye in, we could see them in large numbers. It was a definite highlight.

A list of species seen on the day is included below though we naturally drifted off in small groups so apologies if some species seen don’t appear on the list.

Species found (as some movies have it, in order of appearance!)

Common vetch
Lady’s bedstraw
Wood sage
Germander speedwell
Prickly sedge
Wood brome
Hairy St John’s wort
False Oat grass
Quaking Grass
Sweet vernal grass
Flea sedge
Mat grass
Heath grass
Marsh thistle
Spear thistle,
Creeping soft grass
Bird’s foot trefoil
Star sedge
Creeping forget me not
Heath bedstraw
Wild thyme
Mouse ear hawkweed
Mouse ear chickweed
Lesser trefoil
Sheep’s fescue
European gorse
Yellow oat grass
Yellow rattle
Rough meadow grass
Sweet vernal grass
Smooth hawksbeard
Rough hawksbeard
Common catsear
Goat’s beard
Lesser stitchwort
Common spotted orchid
Changing forget me not
Adder’s tongue fern
Red fescue
Annual meadow grass
Soft brome
Perennial rye grass
Yorkshire fog
Cut leaved geranium
Red clover
White clover
Musk mallow
Wood dock
Common dock
Soft rush
Compact rush
Hairy brome
Slender brome
Heath spotted orchid
Southern marsh orchid
Yellow sedge
Carline thistle
Herb Robert
Rock stonecrop
Biting stonecrop
Remote sedge