We've made an effort to hit some squares in RCT this Winter and Spring. About 2 weeks ago, in glorious Spring sunshine, we visited the Blaenrhondda Waterfalls area in an unrecorded part of SN90F. A steep, moorland trail led to an old tram road which allowed us to explore 3 waterfalls and jumbles of block scree. It looked promising on the map, but we didn't see anything of great note. However, there's a nice upland feel to the bryophyte flora here and we were able to take the tetrad total up to 74. Where Nant Drysiog tumbles spectacularly over a steep vertical face, Racomitrium aquaticum and Campylopus atrovirens var. atrovirens were abundant and small patches of Marsupella emarginata var. emarginata occured on shaded rock in the vicinity. Ptychomitrium polyphyllum was common on boulders and also occurs here as an epiphyte on willows near one of the waterfalls. Racomitrium aciculare, R. fasciculare, R. lanuginosum, R. heterostichum and R. ericoides completed a diverse Fringe-moss collection and some large colonies of Preissia quadrata were notable. Some photos from the day below:
Racomitrium aquaticum, Blaenrhondda Waterfall
Campylopus atrovirens var. atrovirens, Blaenrhondda Waterfall
Part of the north east-facing scarp of Tarren Saerbren
Today, we explored parts of SS99I and SS99J that occur along the Cwm Saerbren Trail, which starts near the railway station in Treherbert. Both these tetrads have received some attention in the past, but we were able to bring the total for SS99I up to 79 and SS79J to a respectable 101. Again, we didn't see anything spectacular, but this is an interesting hike that leads you to the impressive face of Tarren Saerbren, where large areas of heathland and marshy grassland break up the monotony of the Sitka and Larch. In many ways it has all the hallmarks of a typical South Wales conifer zone, with ubiquitous Colura calyptrifolia, Rhytidiadelphus loreus and Plagiothecium undulatum. A large clump of Orthotrichum lyellii on a willow tree near Nant Saerbren was nice.
HH in heather/bilberry moorland below Tarren Saerbren
We stopped below Tarren Saerbren where the cliffs are begging for attention. Next time!