My first day was spent in Monmouthshire, where I filled in three marginal tetrads: the fragmentary SO23R and SO32E held fewer than 20 species each, but SO23V was pretty rich, with well over 100 species. I walked up on to the Hatterall Ridge from the east, between the Red Darren and Black Darren in Herefordshire. Once on the ridge I marched north to the northernmost point of VC35, which is marked by a tiny cairn. The northernmost bryophyte in the county turned out to be Rhytidiadelphus squarrosus, and half an hour of combing the dry blanket bog produced just 11 species. Surprise highlight of the area was a patch of leggy Bilberry at >600m altitude that sported 10+ tufts of Ulota bruchii and a tuft of Orthotrichum pulchellum!
The blanket bog on the Hatterall Ridge is mostly very dry and degraded, but I made a few DAFOR lists as I worked my way south. Highlights were a 1x1m mound of Sphagnum capillifolium rubellum at SO275311, 10s of square metres of S. cuspidatum and S. papillosum in an area of pools at SO281306, and a few shoots of Cephalozia connivens in the latter area. Cowberry and Crowberry were prominent features of the area.
A contrast to the blanket bog/moorland was provided by the hillside above Trevelog, at 420-450m altitude; this accounted for the majority of the bryophyte diversity in SO23V. There were Old Red Sandstone boulders with Ptychomitrium polyphyllum, Seligeria recurvata and Tortella fasciculata, a deep valley with Entosthodon obtusus, Ditrichum gracile, Gymnostomum aeruginosum and abundant Conocephalum salebrosum, and a series of base-rich rills with Philonotis calcarea, Palustriella falcata, Jungermannia exsertifolia, Leiocolea bantriensis, Plagiomnium ellipticum and P. elatum. Star find was some dense patches of Riccardia incurvata alongside one of the rills, new for the Black Mountains and VC35.
SO32E still beckoned, and on my way there I spied another rushy spring on the ridge edge. This too held Sphagnum platyphyllum at SO297287, as well as S. capillifolium rubellum and S. papillosum. The final fragmentary tetrad produced 17 species, which was all that could be expected from a few hundred square metres of dry, patch-burnt blanket bog. All in all it was a good day!