Saturday, 7 April 2018

Tâf Fechan [SO01K square bash]

Left vc42, right vc41
As I was in Merthyr on Friday and I had a spare hour, I made a quick sojourn into SO01K, which was on a paltry 10 species. Even within my limited time slot I was able to quickly add an additional 64 species to the list for what is undoubtedly a much richer partial tetrad. There was also interest before reaching my target the square, when crossing Pontsarn viaduct I noticed a nice colony of Grimmia orbicularis on the Brecon side, new for vc42 according to the blog county lists.

Once in the square a large decorticated log was found to hold a good colony of Riccardia palmata (below; photo 1) and the limestone outcrops & boulders supported abundant drapes of Neckera crispa on dry cliffs with sheets of Conocephalum salebrosum in damper sections. The most interesting species of the drier sections were Loeskeobryum brevirostre (photo 2), Scapania aspera (photo 3) and Platydictya jungermannioides (photos 4-7), the latter new for Glamorgan with 3 small colonies noted in crevices, but with plenty of the same habitat, it seems likely there will be a strong population at this site.

Interest on the wetter sections was provided by Cololejeunea calcarea, Eucladium verticillatum, Leiocolea bantriensis (below; photo 1) and Seligeria acutifolia (photos 2 & 3). Well worth a revist - park on the vc42 side of the bridge, cross over and drop down from the Glamorgan side - very easy access.


  1. Some nice records - I have never seen orbicularis in Brecks, so looks like another new moss for the county! The county vc boundary along the southern edge is fairly complicated. I haven't explored the area around Merthyr in any great detail, apart from a visit Sam and I made to the Taff Fechan gorge just further upstream about 10 years ago, where we stayed mainly on the Glamorgan side of the river due to ease of access, but the Brecks side should have some good things waiting to be discovered. It is a lovely gorge if you can turn a blind eye to some of the rubbish (in one place a car which was wedged in part of the narrow river gorge). Seem to recall we has some new things for Glam at the time (possibly Riccia subbifurca, Platydictya confervoides??) - the visit is written up in a report. I do recall coming across some willows near to where the river goes under the A465 and having a race with Sam to see who could find Colura first .... Sam won!

  2. Firstly thanks Charles for pointing out my site name error (now corrected).
    Re. R. subbifurca & A. confervoides, I don't have any records on my system for either from that area, so for some reason these records seem not to have come through with NBN download I made a couple of years back. Perhaps something that George can check up on when he has time as there must be a whole batch of records from Graham & Sam's visit.

  3. That's brilliant - well done Barry! Cwm Taf Fechan was mentally on my 'done' list, but Graham and I only looked at the section downstream of the bridge (in SO00P). We saw Riccia beyrichiana, A confervoides and various Seligeria. The VC42 bank needs a good look.

  4. Excellent stuff, I had that one on the to do list so you've saved me a job, and made some great finds along the way.