Wednesday, 18 January 2017

Tan y Darren

Yesterday I had a thoroughly enjoyable time exploring the north-facing crags and screes at the head of Cwm Dare. It was a bit of a flying visit as I had to get back for the school run, and as usual I spent too much time looking at other habitats on the walk in from the car. I did manage to have a decent look at the screes, but after that I only had an hour left to look at the sandstone crags. This gave me enough time to explore the easternmost crags, but I didn't even make it as far west as the area where filmy ferns have been recorded.
The crags didn't disappoint, despite the lack of any obvious base enrichment. There were a couple of cracking patches of fruiting Diphyscium foliosum in rock crevices (photo below - left), a few capsules of Pohlia elongata protruding from under an overhang (photo below - right), a small patch of Cynodontium bruntonii, quite a lot of Polytrichastrum alpinum (tbc), as well as Bartramia pomiformis and Fir Clubmoss.
The screes held abundant cushions of Andreaea rothii (ssp falcata) (photo below - right) and I found a single cushion of the scarcer A. rupestris (photo below - left, though I'm kicking myself I didn't bring back a shoot to check for the similar-looking rare species). Although the rocks were acidic, the small stream which I followed up the hill from the cwm had signs of base enrichment with plenty of Ctenidium molluscum and a little Palustriella commutata. So far my list for SN9601 is 58 taxa, but I still have samples to sort through...

Fifty five taxa were recorded on the walk in through SN9602, including Climacium dendroides on colliery spoil and Riccardia palmata on a stump in wet alder woodland.

It's definitely an area which needs another visit!


  1. I think that would be a great place for this years Spring Foray.

  2. I agree, your records suggest these two squares should produce a comfortable 100+ given more time. That's only the 3rd Glamorgan tetrad for Andreaea rupestris.

  3. Thanks Barry - I hadn't realised that the Andreaea was so rarely recorded in VC41.

    It would make a good location for a group foray (easy parking etc) - the obvious thing to do would be to follow the stream in SN9602 to the head of the crags, and then work south-eastwards along the crags to where I started this week. Unless you think the time would be better spent working on an even less well recorded tetrad nearby?