The Bristol Botanical region contains a wider range of habitats for its size than many comparable areas of Britain, and includes several Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI). The Avon Gorge SSSI is recognised as a site of outstanding national importance with many rare plants, some which only occur here. Other areas of national importance are the Gordano valley, the Mendip hills and the Somerset levels. Ancient woodlands, saltmarsh and limestone grasslands are also important in the area. The diversity of the local flora is well known and has a written history from the 16th century. Although called the Botany Section this also encompasses lichen, mosses, liverworts and fungi.
Summer meetings will include visits to a range of habitats within the Avon area with the occasional trip further a field. The walks are often either led by a reserve manager or specialist in the particular field. In addition to these daytime events evening meetings are also held in the summer months. All the walks are intended to be both educational and enjoyable and there is an especial welcome to those who are less experienced in the identification of plants and who wish to improve their skills.
The Botany Section also holds monthly indoor meetings throughout the winter months on a wide variety of subjects. Our speakers present talks that cover a wide range of topics from the ecology and biology of species to broader subjects such as botanical history, ecology and the management of local reserves, often presenting new and exciting discoveries.
The BNS also has a Library held within the City Museum and Art Gallery which has an excellent reference section on all aspects of botany and the library is updated to keep pace with new developments and progress within the botanical world.
We have well established links with the Avon Wildlife Trust and other recording groups including the Somerset Rare Plants Group and the local BSBI County Recorders.
Members were involved in writing the “Flora of the Bristol Region”, an Atlas Flora which provides an invaluable resource for the distribution and site references of our local flora. We currently submit botanical records to the Bristol Regional Environmental Records Centre (BRERC) and to the national recording schemes. All records are studied for inclusion in our annual report, Bristol Botany which provides feedback on the years finds.
The Botany Section shares interests with the other Sections and we occasionally have joint meetings where our interests cross over (such as plant galls and insect pollinators).