Monday, 3 April 2017

Brecon Beacons Pit Stop

 We stopped briefly in a lay-by below Storey Arms - actually an old quarry (SS971208) -  during a journey across the Brecon Beacons on Sunday afternoon. The occurrence of small patches of Philonotis calcarea and a Scorpidium, which at the time I assumed was S. revolvens, indicated a significant amount of base-flushing. Also in the vicinity were Preissia quadrataCtenidium molluscum, Gymnostomum aeruginosum, Tortella bambergeri and some impressive Asplenium viride, all indicating a calcium influence.

Scorpidium in small quarry, Brecon Beacons

Asplenium viride in small quarry, Brecon Beacons

It was fortunate that I took a small sample of the Scorpidium because after checking leaf cell structure under the microscope it appears to be S. cossonii. Once upon a time they were both Drepanocladus revolvens!

Porose, mid-leaf cells of Scorpidium with blunt (transverse) ends

The wet rocks also had small amounts of Blindia acuta and Empetrum nigrum was scattered in heathy areas above the quarry. Fascinating to think that this collection of Boreo-arctic montane species is only few miles away from an exemplary collection of hyper-oceanic species in the Upper Nedd and Mellte headstreams.

Blindia acuta in small quarry, Brecon Beacons

Blindia acuta leaf showing characteristic alar cells


  1. A somewhat serendipitous stop - what a lovely selection of species. I made a brief pit stop yesterday at the derelict sidings off Fabian Way SS69259314 which was a lot less productive, with Lophozia excisa the only species of any real interest.

  2. There are few records of L. excisa in NPT, so that is nice.

  3. Not by design, but the site i looked at was just on the Swansea side of the invisible line that separates CCS & NPT - L.excisa remains scarce in NPT for now!

  4. more S.Cossonii in flushes near the large lay-by at SN 97746 20231 ...which Jon Graham and I sampled for the flush water chem work (looking at the differences in water chemistry between the Scorpidium species) which we will very soon finish writing up - this year. Maybe the whole hill side is a good location for S. Cossonii ?