3 December 2012

Marvellous Mosses and Stunning Stonewort

Froglife is excited to share that recent plant surveys on Hampton Nature Reserve, Peterborough, have revealed it is of even more importance for local flora than previously realised.

A former brick pit, the Reserve is a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) due the huge population of great crested newts and the presence of a variety of advanced algae, called stoneworts, including the incredibly rare bearded stonewort.  Sarah Lambert, a local botanist, has recently identified an eleventh species of stonewort on the reserve, pushing the site up to top spot in the UK for stonewort diversity.

The amazing landscape at Hampton is home to a huge range of wildlife
The site was also surveyed by Mick Burton, Mark Hill and Jon Shanklin of the British Bryophyte Society.  These surveyors were looking for mosses, hornworts and liverworts across the site as part of a county-wide survey.  A total of 119 records were made, comprising 57 different taxa including some particularly interesting sightings:
  • Endive Pellia Pellia endiviifolia
  • Coral Moss Riccardia chamedryfolia
  • Velvet Feather Moss Brachytheciastrum velutinum
  • Star Headed Liverwort Marchantia polymorpha subsp. polymorpha
  • Marsh Bryum Bryum pseudotriquetrum
  • Forked Veilwort Metzgeria furcata
  • Even Scalewort Radula complanata
As well as being interesting records from a botany angle, this new information highlights the value of this previously industrial site for wildlife diversity in Peterborough, and nationally.

Froglife runs regular volunteer sessions which include habitat management, surveys and training on Hampton Nature Reserve every Thursday and every other Saturday.  These sessions provide the opportunity to access this amazing site which is not open to the public.

To join the the Hampton Nature Reserve volunteers or find out more, please contact paul.furnborough@froglife.org or 01733 558844.

Froglife manages the site on behalf of O&H Hampton Ltd.