Thursday, 20 September 2012

Trip Report Saturday 15th September 2012
 Local walk in Bath
Lyncombe Vale and Perrymead

Seventeen members gathered outside Prior Park Garden Centre at 10am then walked up to Lyncombe Vale where our first stop was on the raised pavement which has a stream running along the wall.  Here liverworts were growing luxuriantly just above water level on the wall, which was also covered in the tiny leaves of mind-your -own-business.  There was a distinct zonation of plants with Pellia epiphylla at water level and Conocephalum conicum just above.  Further up the wall hard fern, ivy-leaved toadflax and herb-Robert were growing in profusion.  A fallen branch covered in crust fungi, mosses and lichens provided an opportunity to learn about these groups.  Species found on this short branch included lichens Evernia prunastri and Parmelia saxatilis, crust fungi Peniophora cinerea and P. limitata and a moss Orthodontium. (Apologies for the latin, but they don’t have common names.)  Further along the road the wall was covered in bright yellow crustose lichen Caloplaca lucens and another liverwort Marchantia polymorpha was found growing between the paving stones.  Where the spring gushed out of the wall there was a mass of liverworts, mostly Conocephalum but also a delicate band of Riccia down by the water.  Lesser water-parsnip was growing in the stream.  Ferns on the wall included wall rue, maidenhair spleenwort and hard fern.  In one place the tarmac road had a good cover of mosses, mainly Calliergonella cuspidata and Eurynchium praelongum, in a damp and shady place where the mosses provided the first stage in colonisation.  Nearby hazel leaves were covered in sawfly larvae.

After passing under the arched bridge carrying the disused railway line soon to become the two tunnels cycle route, we came to a derelict pony paddock, now covered in a tall growth of burdock, angelica, comfrey, nettles and brambles, with greater plantain along the path.  This might well be called the cricket field as there was a profusion of dark bush-crickets, together with meadow and field grasshoppers (identified by Alan Barrett on his bat detector).  A lone chiffchaff was singing, and we noted nuthatch, robin, wren and woodpigeon.  Common carder bees were visiting comfrey flowers and there were many snails including white-lipped and copse snails.

Where the path joined Entry Hill we turned left up a steep path lined in places with tall beech trees where stock doves were noted.  Coming out on top we had a fine view of Lyncombe Vale and Perrymead valley looking across old pasture now rapidly being invaded by creeping thistle, with bramble spreading out from the edges.  Fleabane and hemp agrimony were noted.  A long-winged conehead was ‘detected,’ and speckled wood butterflies were seen.  Some of the false oat grass was suffering from rust.  A brief climb to the top of the slope brought us suddenly into the suburbs of Foxhill.  From here it was all downhill along Foxhill Road and Perrymead where I had seen roe deer in a garden the day before.  Red admirals were in the gardens.

Near the bottom of Perrymead we turned right up Blind Lane to the new entrance to the Abbey Cemetery which was built in the 1840’s and is now managed to retain the wildlife as well as many notable monuments.  Hemp agrimony and rosebay willowherb covered much of the ground between the tombstones.  A fine stand of the grass wood melick was noted under the trees and a large badger sett was pointed out.  A southern hawker dragonfly was noted.  Back at the garden centre we noted the greater horsetail, purple loosestrife, hemlock water-dropwort and meadowsweet along the streamsides by the car park.  Kingfishers are often seen here, but not today.

David Goode

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