Four bryologists (and budding lichenologists) spent a day looking at the epiphytes of Castell Coch Woods SSSI - I was joined by Karen Wilkinson, Nick Sharp and Peter Sturgess. Highlights were Neckera pumila on at least 10 trees and Pylaisia polyantha on two trees. Of interest, the Neckera was plentiful in the canopy of a huge fallen Beech, and I suspect it's much commoner in woodland canopies than we realise. One of the two Pylaisia patches was in the same Beech canopy, along with the day's only Orthotrichum striatum. Other epiphytes included O. stramineum, lyellii, tenellum and pulchellum, Cololejeunea minutissima, Microlejeunea ulicina, Ulota crispa sensu stricto, U. phyllantha and Zygodon conoideus (there was a distinctly western feel all told).
Lichen highlights were Leptogium teretiusculum on two trees and Parmelina pastillifera & Punctelia borreri on one, although I have several small black dots to dissect.
Damp sunny rocks at the foot of the castle held Didymodon umbrosus, Gymnostomum viridulum, Fissidens gracilifolius and Tortula muralis var aestiva, whilst shady rocks on the other side supported Dialytrichia mucronata.
Further up into the SSSI, the natural limestone outcrops were festooned with Anomodon viticulosus, Neckera crispa, locally frequent Eurhynchium striatulum (especially on blocks below the outcrops) and some classic Schistidium elegantulum; Eucladium verticillatum indicated localised seepages.
Our final stop was a tufa spring, which sported fruiting Palustriella commutata and Cranoneuron filicinum, and may well represent the Annex 1 habitat Petrifying Springs Gareth, have you been there?
This was already a well-recorded tetrad, with 140 recorded bryophyte species, so I wonder how many we've added...