Saturday, 8 October 2016

Nant-y-cafn square bash

After spending all yesterday on the computer I decided to get out for the last couple of hours of daylight and headed up the Dulais Valley to SN80D, which was in need of a boost. My plan was to target some of the coal spoil areas after a quick look at the Dulais. After a 10 minute session looking around the weir by the social club, I parked at the top of Brynteg above the Nant-y-cafn stream. I could hear noisy water so dropped into the ravine and ended up spending the last hour of light heading upstream towards the railway line, my route ending at an impassible waterfall. The valley was very steep sided, shaley, with dripping banks supporting abundant Pellia endiviifolia and fruiting Hyocomium armoricum (apparently capsules are very rare), [top three photos below]. Some very robust and regularly branching Pohlia wahlenbergii var. wahlenbergii [lower photo below], plants with shoots >5cm were very different to the usual material I see locally. Despite the hint of mildly basic conditions, no real calcicoles were noted and evidence of mine water percolating out through the shaley rocks reduced hopes of finding anything exciting. An interesting site all the same.
I climbed out of the now very gloomy ravine at 6:40, which left 15 minutes to pop onto the tip and add a few coal spoil species to the list; the track immediately east of the railway line produced frequent Archidium alternifolium and a little Bryoerythrophyllum ferruginascens amongst others taking the square onto 99. There are far more interesting looking tips than the tiny bit I looked at, and with the conifer forests, heathland unexplored, it shouldn't be too difficult to add another 20-30 species to this square.


  1. By bizarre coincidence I was in that same tetrad yesterday! (Though I'd probably gone home by the time you arrived). I spend hardly any time in NPT but I was out mapping Marsh Fritillary habitat in the forestry. I was actually parked on Brynteg in the morning and looked down into that ravine and thought 'if only I had time...'. I tried hard to ignore bryos all day but did spot a nice healthy patch of Scapania nemorea, with brown gemmae, along a forest trackside at SN811072.

  2. Well done Barry. That tetrad was on our 'to do' list and we need to check the forest there for fungi while there's still time, so hope to get up there ourselves soon. Another record for B. ferruginascens in NPT - excellent!

  3. That is a very odd coincidence, shame we didn't bump into each other - that would have made it twice in a month after seeing in Bute Park the other day. There was plenty Scap.nem. on logs in the ravine so not the 100th sp. for the tetrad sorry, so that will be down to Charles and Hilary...