Barry has a special interest in ferns and has been a member of the national society (British Pteridological Society) for more than 30 years and a member and chairman of the local Yorkshire Fern Group since its inception in 1983.

Ferns are an important group of plants that are strong indicators of environmental conditions. Many are persistent species that are good indicators of ancient woodlands. They are sensitive to disturbance and are mainly found in shaded habitats. Although species like Adder's-tongue Ophioglossum vulgatum and Moonwort Botrychium lunaria are indicators of long-established and un-improved grassland.