Sunday, 8 January 2017

Tetrad bashing in RCT and Bridgend counties

On Thursday last, H and I spent 2 hours in the Bryn Du Sitka Spruce plantation above Maerdy, RCT (SS99U). Roy had done some recording in the tetrad in 2005, but judging from his records he hadn't looked in the forests. Conditions were not ideal. The ground was frozen solid in most places and it was uncomfortably cold, but we managed to get the tetrad count up to 100. Nothing very exciting but willows along the forest track supported a variety of epiphytes absent from Roy's list, including Colura and Orthotrichum lyellii.  In our experience, Colura is not as abundant in RCT forests as it is in NPT, but there's a lot more forest to look at. The tracks here have been dressed with large amounts of limestone gravel so we were not surprised to see a predictable suite of calcicoles such as Didymodon ferrugineus, Ditrichum gracile and Campylium protensum in the base-rich verges. A small population of Pyrola minor was a bonus - this is now a widespread species in Glamorgan's plantations - and an interesting toadstool (something in the Strophariaceae) growing on Sitka wood chips is yet to be identified.
A trip this afternoon to the Pen-y-Moel plantation in the Upper Ogwr Valley, Bridgend, only added a handful of new species, but now brings the species count for SS99G to 61 and SS99H to 82.
The abundance of species like Rhytidiadelphus loreus,  Plagiothecium undulatum and Nowellia curvifolia in Glamaorgan's Sitka Spruce plantations is very significant, bearing in mind that most of these forests were planted on moorland above the line of enclosure; i.e. land that was cleared of forest in prehistoric times. All these species were regarded as scarce in Glamorgan 40 years ago.

Nowellia curvifolia


  1. Great stuff, that's a different part of SS99U to that which a group of us visited on 5th December (see earlier blog). We were mostly on open spoil and didn't look at forestry tracks - Didymodon ferrugineus, Ditrichum gracile and Campylium protensum should all be new. The tetrad total was already about 120, and will now be very impressive indeed!

  2. I should have remembered your visit to Maerdy George - Misty Maerdy! You must have added about 90 species which haven't been synced yet. If SS99U is now >120, that is good. I was relying on synced Map Mate data which only showed Roy's records. At least there won't be much duplication at the 1km square level.

  3. Repeat visits to a square seem to be really productive and I bet SS99U still has more to offer. Hopefully Dave will send me a sync file soon so I can update the map. I'm pretty up to date with Charles & Hilary, but the last records I have from the east are from the 18th Nov. This final contribution for 2016 should see the total number of records for last year slightly exceed the previous highest figure of 10,313 made in 2014.

  4. I'll be sending Dave another sync very soon, so will prompt him to sync with you Barry...

  5. Sorry, that should have read calcicoles (not calcifuges) - now corrected!