Priddy Mineries and Stockhill, Mendip Hills

North Somerset 7th July 2024
general beginners
led by
Helena Crouch

In contrast to the meeting on Mendip in 2022, which focused on species-rich limestone grassland, this will be a visit to acidic habitats largely on Old Red Sandstone, which outcrops at the highest points of the Mendip Hills. This is also an area of centuries of lead mining and smelting industries, the complex geology and disturbance resulting in a mosaic of habitats.

At Priddy Mineries we will see species typical of Calaminarian Grassland: Sabulina [Minuartia] verna (Spring Sandwort), Noccaea caerulescens (Alpine Penny-cress), Silene uniflora (Sea Campion) and the diminutive fern Botrychium lunaria (Moonwort). Mire and heath communities include Eriophorum angustifolium and E. vaginatum (Cottongrasses), Juncus squarrosus (Heath Rush), Carex paniculata (Greater Tussock-sedge), Narthecium ossifragum (Bog Asphodel) and Trichophorum germanicum (Common Deer-grass). Typha angustifolia (Lesser Bullrush) and Carex rostrata (Bottle Sedge) grow by the pool. Limestone outcrops and grassland support calcicoles such as Polygala vulgaris (Milkwort) and Arabis hirsuta (Hairy Rock-cress). The remains of stonework support a variety of ferns, including Cystopteris fragilis (Brittle Bladder-fern). Four Asplenium spp. (Spleenworts) grow on one wall!

Stockhill is a large Forest England plantation, also on “gruffy” ground. The wide rides have a diverse flora and there is an abundance of ferns, with 26 taxa recorded across the two sites. We will see several of the Dryopteris affinis group (Scaly Male-ferns), found here on visits by members of the British Pteridological Society.

Beginners welcome. Please bring a packed lunch, wear appropriate footwear for rough ground and bring waterproofs and sun cream.