Wednesday, 2 March 2016

Botanical delights on the menu in Wales this summer

Small White orchid
at Vicarage Meadows LNR
Image: J. Crellin
How would you like to see some of Wales' best plants and habitats this summer? Join fellow botanists in the field (and on the hill and up the mountain!) and pick up some plant ID tips from the experts? Maybe catch a glimpse of the celebrated Attenborough's Hawkweed?

If this appeals to you, why not head over here and check out what the Brecknockshire botanists are planning for July, when they host the BSBI Welsh AGM. They've put together a mouth-watering selection of field excursions and talks, starting on Monday 11th July. 

You don't need to be an expert botanist - or even a BSBI member - to come along to this meeting. Old hands are always delighted to show the lovely plants on their local patch to newcomers, and more experienced botanists like nothing more than showing beginners how to identify a plant! 

Wood bitter-vetch. Image: J. Crellin
The booking fee for the week-long meeting is a mere £20 and the Brecknockshire team have come up with a nice selection of affordable options for accommodation and meals, from self-catering to hotel to campsite.

I asked Polly, BSBI's Welsh Officer, to tell us what's so special about this meeting:

Tim and Attenborough's Hawkweed at Cribyn
Image courtesy of Tim Rich
"The Welsh AGM is always a great meeting. We are very welcoming to those from beyond Wales, and we have some special treats lined up this year - Brecon is a fascinating county, with the possibility of visiting some really special sites, including Vicarage Meadows, Stanner Rocks, or a long mountainous walk near to the site of the Attenborough's Hawkweed. 

"There will be evening talks and also the chance to contribute to Atlas 2020 recording in wonderful Wales". 

Spiked Speedwell at Stanner NNR
Image: J. Crellin
Lots more details on the Brecknockshire page, but these are a few of the plants that are tempting me to dig my tent out and book my space on this meeting:
Perennial Knawel at Stanner NNR
Image: J. Crellin

Polly and John Crellin (the County Recorder for Brecknockshire, who is organising this meeting) tell me that bookings are already coming in and there are only a few spaces left at The Barn in Brynich - the self-catering accommodation which will be the base for this meeting and the venue for the evening meals and talks. 

    But there are still lots of other accommodation options nearby, and the Welsh botanists are looking forward to welcoming us from 11th-15th July.

    So please get your diaries out, check out this flyer and see if you can join us for this year's BSBI Welsh AGM!


    Stanner Rocks - well worth the climb to see those scarce plants!
    Image: J. Crellin

    The confluence of the Wye and Elan - we should see
    some interesting water plants around here
    Image: J. Crellin