June 2022 - Coastal walk at Sand Point

Following her superb Zoom talk earlier in the year, we were delighted that Dr Helena Crouch was able to lead 12 of us on a botanical walk along Sand Point, near Weston-Super-Mare. Helena is Vice-County Recorder for the north part of Somerset for the Botanical Society of Britain & Ireland and an active member of Somerset Rare Plants Group.

She expertly found, identified and described over 45 different plant species between the car park and the windswept headland, showing a wide range of adaptations to survive in the challenging conditions. Check out the report of her talk in April with details of how plants adapt to the conditions of coastal life HERE

These plants ranged from the commonplace: bird’s foot trefoil and lady’s bedstraw, to limestone grassland specialists: centuary, perforate st. john’s wort and yellow wort, to nationally rare species: ivy broomrape (parasitic on ivy), cheddar pink and slender thistle. Colour and scent were provided by sea lavender, common rock rose, pyramidal orchid and wall germander. There were exotically-named species, including the bulbous meadow grass, black spleenwort, nodding thistle and fiddle dock (with violin-shaped leaves). Helena showed an encyclopedic yet non-intimidating knowledge of these, not an identification guide to be seen, which made for a more enjoyable and informative walk.

Photo: Bird's Foot Trefoil seed pods

Ivy Broomrape
Pyramidal Orchid
Wall Germander
Nodding Thistle
Bonus sightings: Large skipper and marbled white butterflies, ravens battling the wind, and aircraft from the nearby Weston-Super-Mare air display, including the iconic red arrows!

Many thanks to Liz Wintle for organising the trip, even though she couldn’t attend herself.

Dave Sage

Photos by Dave Sage and Andrew Harrison

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Avon Wildlife Trust
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Email: keynshamawt@gmail.com