2023 County Report for Westmorland, Cumberland

Mike Porter and Jeremy Roberts


Our year began with another New Year Plant Hunt with more than 50 people taking part but only 41 species being recorded, much fewer than in previous years, undoubtedly due to a spell of arctic weather in December. This was followed by our Snowdrop Hunt during January and February which brought in 825 records.

In March we held our Indoor Meeting at Plumgarths near Kendal, reviewing the previous year and making plans for 2023. This was followed by 7 Field Meetings, spaced out through the spring and summer months in various parts of Cumbria, one of which was a combined meeting with the British Pteridological Society.

During the season we held a National Field Meeting to look at sedges at Tarn Moor and Orton, made some progress on the updating of the RPR for Cumbria, thanks largely to the efforts of some hardy mountain botanists, encouraged interest in the plants of Cumbria through our Facebook site, Cumbria Botany, which now has more than 870 members, produced three Newsletters and processed many records, some of them significant, via iRecord. As a result of field meetings and individual efforts, to date more than 17,000 new records have been entered in the DDb, 8,700 from Westmorland and 8,800 from Cumberland.

The undoubted high spot of the season occurred when Trevor Lowis led a field meeting in a rich area of limestone grassland which he had discovered north of Orton. Here were Primula farinosa (Bird’s-eye Primrose), Carex capillaris (Hair Sedge), Epipactis palustris (Marsh Helleborine), Eriophorum latifolium (Broad-leaved Cottongrass) and the Nationally Rare and Red List Endangered Polygala amarella (Dwarf Milkwort) in a totally new locality.