GNS Field Meetings

The field meetings, unless stated below, will last about two hours and will be of general interest, including birds, botany, geology… whatever turns up. Stout footwear essential, and remember your hand-lens and binoculars. Post codes are sometimes provided to help satnav users get roughly to the right location, but please bear in mind that for rural locations these will only be approximate and you will still need to find the exact location from the grid reference.


February 2019 – Winter Bird surveys.
The winter surveys now enter their 5th year – counting and recording birds in a random 1 Km square; if you have participated before, you will be contacted shortly, if not and you would like to take part, please contact Andy Lewis, 07789 430441.

Sunday 10th March. 09:30 – 12:30. Chalford/Cowcombe.
A walk along part of the canal,  River Frome and the wooded valley sides.  Dippers and  Kingfishers may be seen in the area, and woodland birds on  the other part of the walk.  Park in the lay-by on the A419 by the roundabout opposite Aston Downs gliding  club  SO910019.  Leader Martin Wright, 07881  855749.

Sunday 31st March. 10:00 – 13:00. Snowshill and Littleworth Wood.
A walk from Snowshill village to Littleworth Wood with the NT Ranger. The footpath includes some ascent and descent. Park and meet in the village car park just south (village side) of the NT car park. SP09683405. Leader Martin Jones 07836 356566.

Sunday 7th April. 09:00 – 12:00. Sherborne Water Meadows.
Woodland, wood-pasture and wet grassland with drainage ditches, leading down to the River Windrush.  This is the estate that featured in the recent Springwatch series.  Park at the National Trust’s Northfield Barn car-park  SP176154. Leaders Anna Field/Andy Lewis, 07789 430441.

Saturday 13th April. 10.00 – 13.00. Lineover Wood, near Cheltenham.
An SSSI and part of a more extensive, largely replanted wood. Designated as an example of the ancient semi-natural coppice woodland once widespread in the Cotswolds. On a steep north-facing slope. Park at the lower entrance to the wood, a potentially awkward turn off the A40 opposite Dowdeswell Reservoir dam, SO986195. Leader Paul Arnold, 01242 527554.

Saturday 20th April. 11:00. Bentham and Brockworth.
A visit to a species-rich brownfield site with rough grassland and ponds, followed by general recording in under-recorded squares nearby at Brockworth.   Meet at 11.00am by the Greek Orthodox church at SO914161 (Satnav GL3 4UD).  Bring lunch and suitable footwear.  Leader Clive Lovatt clivemlovatt@gmail.com 07851 433 920.

Thursday 25th April. 10:30 – 13:00. Wigpool, near Mitcheldean, Forest of Dean.
A meeting with a focus on reptiles and amphibians. Meet by the road junction, SO652195. Bring suitable footwear. Leader David Dewsbury, 01594 832068.

Thursday 2nd May. 18:00 – 19:30. Coombe Hill GWT reserve.
Based in the reserve hides, a meeting later in the day to watch the evening activities in the fields and scrapes. Meet in the car park at the east end of the canal. Follow the narrow lane alongside and SW of the Swan Inn at Coombe Hill traffic lights, park at the bottom, SO886272. Leader Mike Smart, 07816 140513.

Saturday 4th May.  08:00 – 11:00. Cotswold Water Park.
An early(ish) start for birdsong – the more common songbirds plus a chance of Nightingales.  Also general waterbirds.  Meet at Neigh Bridge country park (pay and display) SU018946. Leader Nigel Birch, 07789 932371.

Tuesday 14th May. 11:00. Staunton Meend.
A return visit to look for spring species on this local nature reserve.  A recording meeting, at the request of John Flynn, following the removal of scrub. Park in Staunton Village. Meet at 11am at the lane leading to the Meend at SO546126.  Bring lunch and suitable footwear.  Leaders Clare and Mark Kitchen 01453 810958. http://stauntoncolefordpc.org.uk/staunton-meend.

Saturday 18th May. 14:00 – 16:00. Prestbury Hill Butterfly Reserve.
A visit to the Butterfly Conservation Reserve adjacent to Cleeve Hill. An established site for the Duke of Burgundy. Lepidoptera in general, spring flora, birds and other fauna of scrub and grassland. Meet on the road to the radio masts adjacent to the reserve, SO993244. Leader Trish Atkinson, 07866 822254.

Friday 24th May. 11:00. Highbury Wood NNR, Redbrook.
Last years meeting was abandoned due to heavy rain so we are making a second visit to record the spring flowers of the NNR.   Meet at 11.00am at the Redbrook Pay and Display Car Park SO536100.   Leaders Clare and Mark Kitchen 01453 810958.  You can find information at www.naturalengland.org where there is a link to Highbury Wood.  Bring lunch and suitable footwear. Leaders Clare and Mark Kitchen, 01453 810958.

Westonbirt Bioblitz.
2019 is the Forestry Commission’s Centenary year, which they are celebrating with the theme of ‘The Big Forest Find’. To support this Westonbirt Arboretum will be holding a BioBlitz on Friday 31 May and Saturday 1 June 2019. The Westonbirt site covers 240 hectares, comprising ancient woodlands, coppice woodlands, Cotswold grasslands, an abandoned orchard, and of course the Arboretum. Full details will be available from the organiser, Andy Bryce, andy.bryce@forestryengland.uk

Thursday 6th June. 11:00. Bull Banks, near Miserden.
Bull Banks, about 10km NW of Cirencester, lies either side of the cross-valley road between Winstone and Miserden and appears to be significantly under-recorded.  Meet at 11am.  Limited parking on roadside where footpaths meet the road at GR SO954082, Satnav GL6 7JB.  The south-facing side is well-grazed, with springs, but the other side is under-grazed and thickly-grassed.  Long-stalked Yellow-sedge Carex lepidocarpa has been recently re-recorded there but Downy-fruited Sedge, Carex filiformis, Flat-sedge Blysmus compressus, Marsh Arrowgrass, Triglochin palustris, Lesser Spearwort, Ranunculus flammula and an unidentified charophyte (not Chara sp.) all found late in 2018 appear to be new site records, and other uncommon or declining plants may well be found there.  Bring lunch and suitable footwear.  Leader Clive Lovatt clivemlovatt@gmail.com 07851 433 920.

Sunday 9th June  09:00 – 12:00. Open Farm Sunday, Guiting Manor Estate.
A farm trust that is managed very much with conservation in mind.  Farmland birds on the arable land, Redstarts in the wooded valley and Hobbies in the surrounding hills.  Follow any car-park signs, and meet in the yard off the road north-west from Guiting Power at SP090251.  Leader Andy Lewis, 07789 430441.  General details: https://farmsunday.org/

Sunday 16th June. 14:30. Wapley Bushes, Yate.
Wapley Bushes Local Nature Reserve has two species-rich meadows, one with a solitary bush of Spiny Restharrow, Ononis spinosa and marshy ground at the bottom by the railway with Carnation Sedge Carex panicea seen recently, and Sneezewort, Achillea ptarmica not recently re-found.  The upper field has Adder’s-tongue, Ophioglossum vulgatum and there is also some old woodland, and by the railway there are a few interesting aliens.  Meet at 2.30pm at GR ST71068069.  Close to a Zebra Crossing on Shire Way go through a reserve gateway with display board.  Parking on Shire Way or in Cherington (Satnav BS37 8UT).  A joint meeting with the Bristol Naturalists’ Society.  Leader Clive Lovatt clivemlovatt@gmail.com 07851 433 920.

Tuesday 18th June. 10:00 – 12:00. Hornsleasow Roughs.
2km east of Snowshill. 28 ha of undulating grassland. An SSSI, on former limestone workings, designated in 1954 for its flora and lepidoptera interest. Park and meet at the road junction, SP108330, where the track leads down to the site, a 10-minute walk. Leader Des Marshall, 07968 419813.

Friday 21st June. 11:00. Robinswood Hill.
A meeting to examine a meadow at the request of Ian Elphick, Countryside Ranger, and other sites on the hill.  Meet at 11.00am at the visitor Centre car park SO837158. Leaders Clare and Mark Kitchen 01453 810958. Bring lunch and suitable footwear

Late June – early July. Evenings. Forest of Dean.
A series of meetings to look for nightjars. Details to follow – please check here.

Saturday 6th July. 10:00 – 13:00. Soudley Ponds. Forest of Dean.
A pot-luck meeting led by a member of the Gloucestershire Invertebrate Group, with a focus on identifying common insects. A chance to make a start with this taxa or revise existing knowledge. Park and meet at Soudley Ponds Car Park, SO663116. Leader Martin Matthews, 07551 821308.

Wednesday 10th July.  11:00. May Hill.
Meeting to review the water buttercups on the hill and resolve which of Ranunculus omiophyllous and R.hederaceus are present . We also hope to see some of the special plants that grow on the hill.  Bring lunch and suitable footwear.  Meet at 11.00am.  Park in roadside pull in at SO704225.  Leaders Clare and Mark Kitchen 01453 810958.

Sunday 14th July. 09:00. Stanton.
Sheep-pasture sheltering at the bottom of the Cotswold Edge. Regular farmland birds, and Redstarts have bred here in the copses. Meet at 9am. Park in the Stanton cricket club/village car-park (SP068343), along the second Stanton turn-off from the B4632 coming from Cheltenham. Leader Andy Lewis, 07789 430441.

Sunday 28th July. 09:00. Daneway.
Two contrasting Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust reserves on the upper Frome: the open limestone grassland of Daneway Banks and the deciduous woodland of Siccaridge Wood, returning by a disused section of the Thames-Severn canal. Meet at 9am. Park in the Daneway Inn car-park SO939034. Leader Rob Curtis, 07746 191165.

Thursday 8th August. 11:00. A perambulation of Minchinhampton Common.
A walk around the edges of the common paying particular attention to the springs, marshes, damp hollows and ponds, and to garden escapes and throw-outs.  Meet at 11am in the parking area immediately East of the covered reservoir on Culver Hill, which leads across the common to Amberley (GR SO855012; Satnav GL5 5AF for the Amberley Inn will put you on the right road).  Lunch can be taken at the Amberley Inn.  Flat-sedge, Blysmus compressus, to be looked for.  New Zealand Pigmyweed Crassula helmsii will be seen.  Bring refreshments and suitable footwear.  Leader Clive Lovatt clivemlovatt@gmail.com 07851 433 920.

Wednesday 21st August. 10:30 – 14:00. Lydney Dock and north shore. Saltmarsh.
It can be easy to forget that Gloucestershire is a coastal county, but the mudflats and saltmarshes of the Severn estuary provide a major landscape feature. Whilst the birds life is familiar to many, this is a chance to look at the characteristic plants of the saltmarsh. Park at Lydney Harbour and meet on the north side by the sea lock, SO651014. Bring lunch and suitable footwear. Leaders Clare and Mark Kitchen, 01453 810958.

Sunday 1st September. 09:00.  Nottingham Hill.
An outlier from the Cotswolds with views over the Vale and the chance of early migrants passing through. Also good for butterflies, including possible Chalkhill Blue and Wall Brown. Meet at 9am. Turn off opposite Cleeve Hill golf club onto Bushcombe Lane and park where it widens out beyond Longwood Farm at SO983279. Leader Andy Lewis, 07789 430441.

Thursday 19th September. 11:00. Urban Gloucester.
A Pot Luck recording meeting, second attempt as last years’ planned meeting was cancelled due to inclement weather.  Meet at 11am by the entrance of the Waterwells Park and Ride on Telford Way, just off the A38 at Quedgely (Satnav GL2 2AB SO809131).   To our surprise, the car park hosts Cut-leaved Dead-nettle, Lamium hybridum.  There is a monad not recently recorded close by (for the morning) and we should be able to move towards town in the afternoon.  Bring lunch and suitable footwear.  Leader Clive Lovatt clivemlovatt@gmail.com 07851 433 920.

Saturday 5th October. 10:00 – 13:00. Insects on Ivy.
Details to follow. Leader David Iliffe.

Sunday 13th October. 14:00, or at 13:00 for lunch. Thames and Severn Canal, Stroud to Thrupp.
A walk along the canal towpath south of Stroud, primarily for aquatics and casuals from seed-mixes and dredgings.  Park in the London Road Council carpark behind the London Hotel – free on Sunday (GR SO852049, Satnav GL5 2AJ).  Meet at 2.00pm or at 1.00 for lunch.  Afterwards, indoor identification of gatherings at the leader’s new home.  Horned Pondweed, Zannichellia palustris and a couple of charophytes should be found, together with Whorled Water-milfoil, Myriophyllum verticillatum.  Bring suitable footwear.  Leader Clive Lovatt clivemlovatt@gmail.com 07851 433 920.

Sunday 20th October. Severn Beach. Details to follow.

Saturday 16th November. Chastleton/Adlestrop. Details to follow.

Sunday 8th December. Edge Common. Details to follow.

Please check here for additional meetings or last-minute changes, or contact Des Marshall, 01242 245143.


GNS Indoor Meetings at Cirencester

The series of indoor winter talks takes place on the second Friday in the month from October through to April. They are free to members. These are normally at Watermoor Church Hall, Cirencester, GL7 1JR. The hall is next to Holy Trinity Church and access to the Hall car park is from Trinity Road. The hall is open from 7.00pm, meetings start at 7.30pm. See below for map and directions.

Some meetings are held at the Parish Rooms in Gosditch Street, Cirencester, GL7 2AG, close to the junction with Coxwell Street, as shown on the map. Parking is available in the Abbey Car Park off Dugdale Road, GL7 2DA – you can then walk through from Dugdale Road to Gosditch and Dollar Streets.   The hall is open from 7.00pm, meetings start at 7.30pm.

Route to Watermoor Church Hall, Cirencester from Bristol or Gloucester
Route to Watermoor Church Hall, Cirencester from Tetbury or Stroud


Friday 8th March. Annual Business Meeting, Members Night, Photographic and Artistic Competitions
Also Cheese and Wine party. Note – the business meeting takes only 20 minutes, not long enough to get boring and is outweighed by the interesting stuff afterwards!
This meeting is at the Parish Rooms in Gosditch Street – see details and map above.

Friday 12th April. Sue Smith and Sue Dodd: Not so common on the commons.
A look at the rarer plants on the limestone grassland commons of Gloucestershire.
This meeting is at Watermoor Church Hall.


GNS Annual General Meeting

The Society’s 2019 Annual General Meeting will be held at the Gala Club, Fairmile Gardens, Longford, Gloucester GL2 9EB at 7.30 p.m. on Friday 22nd March 2019. The guest speaker will be Keith Alexander, speaking on “Gloucestershire’s Best Beetles”.


Other Meetings

Members may like to know of the following field meetings.

Amphibians and Reptiles

Events and surveys across the county. Contact David Dewsbury for details. Phone 01594 832068, mobile 07786 543961, email david.dewsbury@btinternet.com

Dean Fungus Group

The Dean Fungus Group http://www.deanfungusgroup.com/ runs forays throughout the year. Contact Keith or Valerie Davies for information on 01452 760278 or email email keith.val@hotmail.com

GNS Lichen Group

The Lichen Group meets once a month during the warmer months. New people, including beginners, always welcome. Lichen meetings begin at 11am and generally go on until about 4pm, though you are encouraged to stay for just as long as you wish. All you need is a x10 hand lens, and a picnic if you intend staying after lunch. To join the mailing list, email Juliet Bailey, glos.lichens@gmail.com
Maps and illustrations of Gloucestershire lichens are online at http://gloslichens.potsherd.net

Gloucestershire Invertebrate Group

The GIG has field meetings mainly at weekends from April to October. GNS members are welcome to come along and see what they do. Contact David Scott-Langley (01285 659631) for further advice. Look out for Invertebrate meetings during National Insect Week.

Gloucestershire Botanical Group

Contact Mark and Clare Kitchen for information. Phone 01453 810958, mobile on the day 07783 448203, email clareandmarkplants@yahoo.co.uk

All meetings are for botanical recording and will not have had a visit beforehand so the excitement of what we find is for all participants. We will identify as many plants as possible so suitable for learners and more experienced botanists. As well as the plants we are searching for we will record all we see.

Gloucestershire Bryophyte Group

The Gloucestershire Bryophyte Group meets monthly from October to April; see the British Bryological Society website for details.