2023 County Report for Cambridgeshire

Jonathan Shanklin

Recording in the county has continued at a high level, though exactly how many records were made is not well determined. The DDb “my county” page suggests somewhere between 26,690 and 30,862 records. MapMate has 27,885 for 2023, however some records were added directly to the DDb, initially via the DDb interface but more recently using the new recording app.

A BSBI meeting for new members and beginners was held in May. The Cambridgeshire Flora Group (independent of the BSBI) held ten meetings during the year and the Cambridge Natural History Society (also independent of the BSBI) had eight meetings that were largely botany focussed. Other groups, particularly the U3A also held meetings in the county, but rarely submitted records.

As usual the county Register of Plants of Conservation Concern was updated, with the 13th edition being completed at the end of the year and uploaded to the DDb. The full document is available on the county web page at https://legacy.bas.ac.uk/met/jds/cnhs/vc29.htm which is regularly updated with local information.

During the year I recorded the grounds of another two Cambridge colleges. I provided botanical tuition to an ecological consultancy, with four sessions taking place. The County Wildlife Sites panel met twice and I provided input and advice, including site visits. One outcome was the introduction of criteria for designating county wildlife sites on the basis of their arable plant flora. Outside the county I extensively recorded in Flintshire and Shropshire.

Many exciting finds have been made during the year, both of alien and native species. Some of these are listed at https://legacy.bas.ac.uk/met/jds/cnhs/star%20finds.htm and Alan Leslie will report in more detail on them in the annual newsletter, which is on the county web page and in more detail in Nature in Cambridgeshire at https://www.natureincambridgeshire.org.uk/ This journal usually has a number of papers with a botanical focus.


Some particular highlights are perhaps the find of Crepis foetida subsp. rhoeadifolia (Stinking Hawk’s-beard) at Hobson’s Park, which is described in the January 2024 BSBI News; the find of Orchis anthropophora (Man Orchid) in Fulbourn (a second county site) and large amounts of Carex strigosa (Thin-spiked Wood-sedge) in Ten Wood (also a second confirmed county site).


Photo is by Peter Leonard and shows the CFG examining the first tussock of Carex strigosa that was found. It turned out to be abundant on a nearby ride.