In order to highlight the ecological and floristic changes since management has been taken over by the BBOWT (Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire Wildlife Trust), I am organising a BSBI field meeting to carry out again a comprehensive inventory of vascular plant life at Moor Copse. This will take place on June 13th 2015, let me know if you would like to take part!
From the BSBI yearbook:
Saturday 13th June (General/Recording): Moor Copse Site Flora, Reading, Berks (v.c. 22)
Leader: Ambroise Baker
The aim of this meeting is to survey the newer part of Moor Copse nature reserve, near Reading, Berkshire. We will cover unimproved water meadows, river banks, ancient woodland and an arable field that was recently converted into meadow. The intention is to compare the vascular plants present in 2015 to those recorded in 2007 when the Wildlife Trust took over the management of the site. All levels of expertise are welcome and it is expected that more experienced botanists and field ecologists will help less experienced ones to get as much as possible out of this fun day of recording in the field. The botanical highlights of the survey site are the water meadows along the river Pang and Sul. They are extremely attractive for botanising with an abundance of Filipendula ulmaria (Meadowsweet), Sanguisorba officinalis (Great Burnet) and Geum rivale (Water Avens). They also feature Silaum silaus (Pepper-saxifrage), a decreasing species in the area whose populations are worth monitoring. There have been over 300 vascular plant species recorded from the survey site so far. For more information on the aim of this meeting and on the previous survey please visit: https://ambroisebaker.wordpress.com/ projects/moor-copse-site-flora-2/ Meet at 10:00 a.m. at the car park (SU633738) for a prompt departure at 10:15 a.m. Tell me if you need/can offer a lift or if you would like public transport directions. Please bring a picnic along and your usual field gear (sturdy shoes, waterproofs, hand lenses, notebooks and ID guides). Send me an message to book your place or for late bookings and any other question before the meeting please ring me on O7881 72 62 O9 – new number!
The full report of the 2007 survey can be downloaded from the BSBI (Botanical Society of Britain and Ireland) website from this link.
The BBOWT extended their nature reserve of Moor Copse, Berkshire, UK, in December 2006 with the acquisition of 29 ha of land adjacent to the existing reserve. Further details regarding this site can be found in Haseler (2008)
The aim of the survey conducted in 2007 was to record all vascular plants present within the different areas of this extension over the duration of one growing season.
Overall, 291 species were observed in 2007 during 12 visits, 4 extra species were found the subsequent year, and a further 7 additional taxa were reported for 2007 and 2008 in the The Reading Naturalist (Keith-Lucas, 2008; 2009). The most diverse areas within the reserve were the River Field and the Arable Field, however the latter area is undergoing restoration as a grassland which will probably induce dramatic changes to its floristic composition and ecology.
Putting results into a wider national context, the presence of the increasingly scarce Silaum silaus is an indicator for the UK BAP priority habitat of lowland meadows, and indeed the River Field, Cottage Field and Corner Field areas comprise areas of unimproved neutral grasslands as defined in this scheme.
At the level of Berkshire, the study site as a whole scores as a moderately ancient woodland(Crawley, 2005 a), and hosts 12 plant species registered as rare plants in the county (Crawley, 2005 b):
Agrimonia procera, Berula erecta, Carex disticha, Dactylorhiza fuchsii, Geum rivale, Glyceria notata, Mentha arvensis, Orchis mascula, Potentilla anglica, Sanguisorba officinalis, Ulmus glabra and Ulmus procera.
In addition, the fine carpets of Bluebells in the spring have a high value as far as biocultural diversity is concerned.
This report also discusses in depth limitations of the methodology used for the field campaign. This element was deemed of utmost importance in order to facilitate subsequent botanical study of the site.
Crawley, M.J. (2005a). The flora of Berkshire: including those parts of modern Oxfordshire that lie to the south of the river Thames; with accounts of charophytes, ferns, flowering plants, bryophytes, lichens and non-lichenized fungi. Harpenden: Brambleby Books.
Crawley, M.J. (2005b). BSBI Rare Plant Register for Berkshire. URL: http://bsbi.org.uk/Berkshire2005.pdf
Haseler, J. (2008) Moor Copse – the Wildlife Haven on our Doorstep. The Reading Naturalist. Published by the Reading and District Natural History Society.
Keith-Lucas, M. (2008) Plant Records from Moor Copse Extension. The Reading Naturalist. Published by the Reading and District Natural History Society.
Keith-Lucas, M. (2009) Recorder’s Report for Botany 2008. The Reading Naturalist. Published by the Reading and District Natural History Society.