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Flora of Northumberland's Whin Sill

Indoor Event, 7.00-8.30pm (doors open 6.20pm)

The Whin Sill in Northumberland supports a variety of habitats, from the high crags and scree of the Roman Wall to grassy slopes, quarries and sea cliffs. Plants such as Chives Allium schoenprasum, Hairy Stonecrop Sedum villosum and Maiden Pink Dianthus deltoides have long been known to be associated with the whin, but until recently little was known of the less specialised plants, or of the lichens and bryophytes that grow with them.

Northumberland Wildlife Trust have carried out an extensive study of the whin habitat over the last 5 years and the results will be presented in this talk, including the discovery of an important but previously unrecognised lichen habitat. Comparison with the results of surveys carried out 30 years ago highlight the extent of habitat loss and the threat to some of the best sites from scrub invasion. We won’t know for many years how effective practical conservation work carried out by NWT has been, but it raises some important issues for the conservation management of scarce habitats.

Dr Janet Simkin is a freelance ecologist, specialising in the study of species-rich grasslands.

Venue: Great North Museum: Hancock, Barras Bridge NE2 4PT