Isle of Wight 1st – 2nd June 2024
general beginners
led by
Colin Pope, Nick Aston

The Isle of Wight has a diverse and spectacular flora that includes an impressive assemblage of scarce and rare native plants as well as interesting aliens. During this weekend meeting we hope to see an exciting range of the Island’s flora across different habitats.

Our first day will focus on the west side of the Island, where we will explore the flora of unimproved chalk downland and chalk costal cliffs around Freshwater Bay. The meeting is timed to enable us to see many of the Island’s specialities associated with these habitats such as Gentianella anglica subsp. anglica (Early Gentian), Lobularia maritima (Sweet Alison), Matthiola incana (Hoary Stock), Orobanche picridis (Oxtongue Broomrape) and Pilosella peleteriana subsp. peleteriana (Shaggy Mouse-ear-hawkweed). The second day will concentrate on sites in the east of the Island. We intend to visit the rich dune grassland of St Helen’s Duver where, if the season is conducive, we shall see a rich array of Trifolium species including Trifolium suffocatum (Suffocated Clover) and a good selection of dune grasses. In addition, we will explore the coastal cliff top grasslands around Sandown that are home to specialities such as Phelipanche purpurea (Yarrow Broomrape) and Silene nutans (Nottingham Catchfly). There may be opportunities to see other rarities for which the Island’s flora is famous, such as Melampyrum arvense (Field Cow-wheat) and Fumaria reuteri (Martin’s Ramping-fumitory). However, please note, we will be too early in the season to visit the site for Clinopodium menthifolium (Wood Calamint).

Meet on Saturday in the (free) National Trust carpark on Afton Down, east of Freshwater (SZ351856) at 11:00am.

Booking is essential and numbers are limited to 20. Participants will need to organise their own accommodation but there is plenty of accommodation available on the Island, although early booking is probably worthwhile. Red Funnel, who sail from Southampton, do car ferry/accommodation deals. Car sharing should be possible and is encouraged where parking is limited.