Lothians Group: Colinton Dell & Craiglockhart Dells

HomeEventsLothians Group: Colinton Dell & Craiglockhart Dells

19 February 2022 (10:30 - 15:30)

Meeting report

As David Chamberlain had already recorded the bryophyte flora of the Water of Leith area, including these two dells, this outing was more of an opportunity to identify bryophytes in the field than a recording excursion. Nevertheless, between the six of us, we found 62 species.

We were fortunate to visit the dells on a day of calm, sunny weather. We set off along the Lanark Road, parallel to the Union Canal, and heading for the Water of Leith Walkway. On the concrete wall top by the pavement we saw 6 species not encountered elsewhere, with abundant Orthotrichum anomalum capsules particularly noticeable.

After looking at some common epiphytes on ash trees we descended the steep flight of steps to the weir in Colinton Dell, over which the Water of Leith surged following the rain of the previous day. The high level of humidity in this steep-sided valley has allowed bryophytes to cover the ground, trees, and path-side wall, with Thamnobryum alopecurum very abundant.

Further down the river, where Colinton Dell meets Craiglockhart Dell, there is an outcrop of shale, largely hidden beneath wallpaper of Conocephalum conicum and curtains of Palustriella commutata. In crevices in the shale were other liverworts such as Cephalozia bicuspidata and Calypogeia fissa.

Despite the attraction of coffee in the Water of Leith visitor centre we stopped for a while to examine the 14 common species of moss growing on an old log, then at an ash tree with a good covering of Zygodon viridissimus, and finally at a small weir to look at the mosses on the exposed rocks. In photographing Didymodon sinuosus Lyn Jones found our only Fissidens crassipes of the day. As we approached the weir a kingfisher flew upstream, a colourful sight to end an enjoyable day.

David Adamson

Meeting details

Leader: David Adamson

Meet outside the Water of Leith Centre EH14 1TQ, grid reference NT221707 at 10:30 on Saturday 19 February 2022 for a field trip to Colinton Dell, probably finishing by 15:30. Colinton Dell is a one-mile walk from the Centre. Habitats include deciduous woodland, a shale outcrop, a mill lade, and the Water of Leith

Please wear suitable clothing and footwear and bring a packed lunch and hand lens. As there are some slopes, please ensure that your footwear is good. Please do not attend if unwell, particularly if you have COVID symptoms.

Please do not park at the Water of Leith Centre as the limited parking is needed for staff, volunteers and users of the Centre. There should be parking nearby on Lanark Road. Lothian Buses 34 and 44 stop outside the Centre, and number 4 stops a short distance away.

Please email davidadamson32@gmail.com by 17 February 2022 if you wish to attend.