Friday, 13 March 2015

Report on Field Meeting at Charlcombe, Bath on Sunday 8th March

A cloudy, damp morning gave way on schedule to a drier, brighter afternoon as five Bath Nats members were joined by over 30 local residents, ranging in age from very young to somewhat older, many of whom had enjoyed our ‘Natural Neighbourhood Watch’ meeting in Fairfield Park in May 2014. Unfortunately, Mike Collins, who was to have led us, was unwell, but we were joined by his wife, Angela, as a source of local knowledge.
As we descended down Charlcombe Lane into the village, I was helped by Terry Doman and Kate Souter to point out and talk about items of interest along the way, which included luxuriant growths of mosses, especially Beech Feather-moss (Cirrhiphyllum crassinervium), along the top of a wall – at just the right height to observe with lenses without having to sprawl. Then, entering the Church Garden, we were greeted by an idyllic, tranquil scene, with much to observe and intrigue, including plentiful growths of epiphytic lichens on tree branches, no doubt enjoying the humidity of that sheltered, shady place. Here our reverie was broken when we suddenly realized that almost 2 hours had passed in no time, so our pace had to quicken because many families needed to get tiring children back home. So we walked quickly down into the valley and across the stream, before slithering up a muddy path on the other side and climbing uphill back towards our starting point – pausing to admire a large badger sett and rather docile frog. Most families then parted company from the few of us who continued for a while and were rewarded by a fine common toad crawling through clumps of Lungwort (Pulmonaria officinalis): perhaps the first of many that might have been seen towards dusk, had we stayed longer.

Alan Rayner

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