A SPECIES of lichen not seen in the UK since the 19th century and thought to be extinct, has been discovered in a field at Goodworth Clatford.

The lichen, Caloplaca Haematites, was found by Neil Sanderson close to the River Anton at Goodworth Clatford while carrying out survey work for Hampshire & Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust.

Finding it on a twig of a white poplar tree, Neil made his own verification before Dr Brian Coppins, Britain’s leading lichenologist, confirmed the identification.

Neil said: “I’m thrilled to have made this discovery of a small but beautiful lichen known to the Victorian pioneers of the study of lichens but long thought to have been extinct in Britain. “Its discovery by the River Anton is a testament to the quality of the habitats found by the Hampshire chalk rivers.” Alison Cross, head of conservation at the Hampshire & Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust, said: “A find like this lichen shows just how important it is to learn more about the wildlife on our doorstep and to take action to protect it.”