Tuesday, 11 November 2014

Caerphilly Castle

I've had hardly any time for bryophyte recording over the last week, but a family outing to Caerphilly Castle on Sunday provided a brief opportunity to record a few species. Looking at the official and unofficial county databases before leaving home, I was amazed to see there were no records at all from the castle (even at hectad level) - and so got a little bit excited at the prospect of interesting finds.

In the event I didn't find anything unusual, with 20 species recorded in total of which 12 were on the castle walls themselves. The best of these was probably Tortella nitida, which was quite frequent, though there is at least one other record of this species for ST18.

In hindsight, I suppose the lack of interest isn't too surprising given the castle underwent a major restoration between the 1930s and 1960s. I didn't check the outside of the walls though, so there's still the potential for something interesting there...


  1. Good effort George - nitida seems to become progressively scarcer as you head east. I spent almost an hour in the rain recording in and around a layby in Cwmcerdinen SN60I today - plenty regular stuff in a very small area and I even managed to get the tetrad over 70 spp.

  2. An hour in the rain looking at mosses in a lay-by - I'm guessing Sandra wasn't with you?!

  3. Tortella nitida is very western in S Wales/Britain: it's really rather rare in Monmouthshire, although most castles support a bit and it's occasionally present on old bridges. It's pretty ubiquitous on old Pembs walls.

    Graham found Encalypta vulgaris on White Castle, VC35, and I've seen a few things on the ground inside Chepstow Castle, but our castles are mostly too well re-pointed to support any good bryophytes. There's a tantalising C19th record of "Funaria calcarea" from Chepstow, which would be either muehlenbergii or pulchella. I have seen both species on wall mortar in SC Ireland (the former being the first Irish record for >100 years and the latter the first Irish record ever!). What a shame our walls are being too well looked after.

    See also my Pembs Flora for some ramblings about the frequent occurrence of Aloina on wall mortar of the Preseli ruins...