2022 County Report for West Gloucestershire

Olga Krylova and Rupert Higgins

2022 was a very sad year for VC34! With deepest regret, we shared the news of the sudden death of VC34 recorder Dr Clive M Lovatt, which occurred during exploration of the Forest of Dean bog habitats. The sadness has been carried throughout the whole season.
As a neighbour of Clive and a fellow botanist I have jointly taken on the VC role to carry on Clive’s legacy with the support of Rupert Higgins. A big thank you to ex-VC 34&33 and leaders of the Plant Group of the Gloucestershire Naturalists Society Clare and Mark Kitchen for their support and mentoring.
My university degrees, consultancy experience and work as a conservation officer, assessing habitat quality to protect them enable me to settle into the role.
All 14 field meetings were held by Plant Group of the Gloucestershire Naturalists’ Society this year led by Clare and Mark Kitchen including visits previously planned by Clive. I had a taster of the VC role when leading a ‘Pop-up botany’ meeting.
Alongside the day-to-day VC role, multiple site visits and botanical surveys have been undertaken with the Stroud Wildlife Survey Group to inform various management plans. This includes:
• River Frome floodplain near Whitminster (SO7607) for Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust;
• Frome Banks (SO8404) for the Stroud Valley Project, including monitoring the 4 highlights of this small woodland - Asplenium adiantum-nigrum (Black Spleenwort)(new record); Cephalanthera damasonium (White Helleborine); Aconitum napellus (Monk’s-hood); Bistorta officinalis (Common Bistort).

Trifolium fragiferum (Strawberry Clover)

A few patches of Trifolium fragiferum (Strawberry Clover) were discovered in VC33&34 within River Frome floodplain near Whitminster (SO7607) during ‘Pop-up botany’ meeting and botanical surveys for Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust.

Anthriscus caucalis (Bur Chervil)

Anthriscus caucalis (Bur Chervil) was identified in arable field near Rodmarton (SO9400) while collecting records in the area.