NWNFPG: Bwlch y Maen Fields

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8 October 2022 (10:00 - 16:00)

Meeting report

Five of us met up with the owner of Bwlch Y Maen fields and started recording along the western edge of the north facing pasture Lots of species’ characteristic of acidic habitat were recorded, but also Ctenidium molluscum was found. Plagiochila porelloides was growing along the banks of the stream and small fruiting cushions of Ptychomitrium polyphyllum were found on a large quartz boulder.

Lunch was eaten sitting on an outcrop of rock in the sunshine, looking at the view with the peaks of the Carneddau in the far distance.

After recording Polytrichum piliferum and P. juniperinum on the luncheon rock, the group moved over to some large mature ash trees with Eurhynchium striatum and Homalothecium sericeum. A small sample of mud from a nearby ditch yielded some Fossombronia, and Scapania nemorea. Some ancient woodland further to the east yielded large amounts of Isothecium alopecuroides. The star of the day consisted of copious mats of Orthocaulis attenuatus growing on some old cut tree stumps.

The day ended with a minor drama when the group found that the barriers on every road out of the forest had, most unexpectedly, been locked during the day, presumably by assiduous NRW employees. The landowner’s key proved ineffective at the main barrier but after several false starts, much reversing and considerable nail biting a way out was found to considerable sighs of relief all round!

Many thanks to the landowner at Bwlch Y Maen for granting us access for another most enjoyable day in the field.

Philippa Thompson, 12 October 2022


Studying Barbilophozia attenuata (now Orthocaulis attenuatus)

Meeting details

Leader: Philippa Thompson

Bwlch Y Maen Fields (SH78225309) consist of a privately owned parcel of land situated at about 200m on the south side of the Lledr valley, in the South-Eastern part of Snowdonia. They are surrounded by conifer forest so they don’t get much sunshine. They are partially grazed by roaming sheep, but the sheep generally keep away from the steep sides of the brooks. There is a mixture of habitats with a few grassy fields, trees covered in Usnea and other lichens, areas of apparent ancient woodland, marshy spaces, and three brooks of various depth, along with some scrubland.

The trees on the fields are deciduous, but the surrounding land is NRW conifer forest, with public footpaths running through. There are places with small bridges crossing steep little gorges running down to the Afon Lledr, which could give additional interesting habitat to explore on the day.

The owner is managing the property to support its wildlife value. There are lesser horseshoe bats in the barn.  Redstarts nest in the fields over the summer and there are waxcaps in the grasslands. It sounds as if it is a site that could be interesting to investigate.

Please let Philippa (malcolm.philippa@btinternet.com) know if you plan to attend this meeting, and please also ensure you have read the Risk Assessment.

Download the Risk Assessment

Bwlch y Maen Fields (SH78225309)