Spring meeting 1975: Newtown

HomeEventsSpring meeting 1975: Newtown

2 April 1975 - 7 April 1975

Meeting report

The spring meeting was based on Gregynog, near Newtown, a country house belonging to the University of Wales. In all , about 35 members attended, though there were seldom more than 20 on the excursions. The excursions were mainly in Montgomeryshire (v.-c. 47) with sorties into Shropshire (v.-c. 40) and Merioneth (v.-c. 48). Except where stated below localities are in v. -c. 47.

2 April. Members drove to Llawryglyn and explored the wooded valleys above Gwernafon. Dicranodontium denudatum, Fissidens celticus, Anastrepta orcadensis, Lepidozia pearsonii, L. pinnata, Odontoschisma denudatum* and Scapania umbrosa were found on banks and rotten wood. A small ravine, difficult to negotiate without getting wet and hard to climb out of without getting muddy, provided Tetraphis browniana* on dripping rocks. Next stop was Dylife. To our surprise the public house was being “antiquated” and its plastic trappings removed. The bar was a trestle table. Refreshed, we drove down to Pennant and explored the valley below Ffrwd Fawr. Banks and flushes produced Polytrichum nanum, Sphagnum subsecundum var. subsecundum*, Barbilophozia barbata, Diplophyllum obtusifolium*, Marsupella funckii and Scapania scandica*. Eurhynchium alopecuroides grew in a stream, and on rocks nearer Ffrwd Fawr members saw Campylopus subulatus, Gymno mitrion concinnatum*, G. obtusum* and Plagiochila punctata.

* = New vice-county record.

3 April. The morning stop was Roundton, a small rocky dolerite hill near Church Stoke. Rocks and earth at the base of the hill produced Philonotis capillaris, Rhodobryum roseum and Frullania fragilifolia. On the south side of the hill, members were gratified to find Tortula canescens* in some quantity and with perfect capsules. There were several other xerophilous and thermophilous plants, including Bryum elegans*, Encalypta vulgaris, Grimmia conferta*, Pottia lanceolata*, Pterogonium gracile, Weissia crispa var. aciculata*, W. microstoma* and Barbilophozia barbata. Sheltered habitats nearby produced Eurhynchium speciosum* and Plagiopus oederi*. In the afternoon the party split up, a contingent visiting Snailbeach Mines (v.-c. 40) where they recorded Pottia starkeana*. The majority, however, went up Ashes Hollow on the Long Mynd (also v.-c. 40), accompanied by Mr. J. R. Packham and Mr. C. A. Sinker. On the way up we saw Bryum flaccidum*, Grimmia montana, Mnium seligeri, Philonotis calcarea, Zygodon conoideus, Leiocolea bantriensis and Reboulia hemisphaerica. By the time we reached the top, snow had covered up Bryum weigelii, a speciality of the area. Mr. Sinker instructed us where to dig, and we soon came on its elegant pink mats.

A Council meeting was held at Gregynog in the evening.

4 April. Having driven long distances on the previous days it was pleasant to visit the valley above Mochdre, near Newtown. Here we were led by Mr. R. R. Lovegrove of the R. S. P. B., who had kindly sought permission of numerous land owners, enabling us to go for three miles in continuous woodland, uninterrupted by roads or houses. Lower down the stream had cut into damp calcareous shales, which supported a characteristic flora, including Gymnostomum aeruginosum, Isopterygium depressum, Mnium stellare, Neckera crispa, Pohlia cruda, Rhynchostegiella teesdalei, Porella cordaeana, P. laevigata and P. platyphylla. Plagiothecium latebricola* was also seen in the lower part of the valley. Higher up the banks became acid and we saw little of note. In the afternoon we visited the Dugwm Rock near the top of the same ridge. The Dugwm, like the Mochdre valley, had not been explored previously for bryophytes, and was a complete surprise. Members expected to find an acidic rocky outcrop suitable for Grimmia spp. What they found instead was a deep, sheltered, highly calcareous gorge with sheets of fruiting Cratoneuron commutatum and Ctenidium molluscum and Hygrohypnum luridum. In more specialised habitats were a number of uncommon and rare species, including Amblystegiella sprucei*, Anomobryum concinnatum*, Barbula spadicea, Grimmia conferta, Orthothecium intricatum, Philonotis calcarea*, Blepharostoma trichophyllum, Cololejeunea calcarea*, Leiocolea bantriensis*, Plagiochila punctata, P. tridenticulata* and Scapania aspera.

5 April. When we awoke the world had been purified by a good fall of snow. The planned excursion was postponed. Instead, members explored the Severn valley, from Newtown down towards the English border. River banks in various places produced Epipterygium tozeri*, Myrinia pulvinata, Orthotrichum rivulare, O. sprucei, Scleropodium caespitosum and Tortula stanfordensis (all seen several times). Meanwhile another party visited Llanymynech Hill, recording Barbula acuta, Funaria muhlenbergii, F. pulchella*, Pleurochaete squarrosa, Pottia bryoides*,P. davalliana*, P. recta*, Leiocolea muelleri* and – a complete surprise – Scapania calcicola* in its first British station outside Scotland. In the afternoon, one party went to Sweeney Mountain (v.-c. 40), recording Gyroweisia tenuis, Tortula marginata and Nardia geoscyphus* on sand rocks. Nearby, Leucodon sciuroides was seen on an apple tree. Another party went to Cwm Llech near Pennant Melan gell. In open woodland an ash tree had recently fallen, and on branches about 6 m above the base grew Habrodon perpusillus* and Zygodon viridissimus var. vulgaris. Presumably this would be their natural habitat in climax woodland, rather than on the isolated tree boles which are their familiar habitat at present.

6 April. Next day most of the snow had melted and we went to the north end of Lake Vyrnwy. In valleys and on rocks a number of interesting plants were seen, including Anoectangium aestivum*, Cryphaea heteromalla, Isopterygium pulchellum, Sphagnum warnstorfianum, Lepidozia pearsonii and Riccardia latifrons. A surprising find was Cryptothallus mirabilis on the surface of the litter in a very dark spruce plantation. Probably it had been exposed by heavy rains earlier in the season. On the way over to Llanymawddwy cars stopped briefly at Bwlch y Groes (v. -c. 43), and Grimmia conferta* and Pohlia elongata were found by the road. The valley of the Afon Pumryd (v. -c. 48) was less interesting than had been expected, with only Atrichum crispum, Bryum bornholmense*, Eurhynchium alopecuroides, Isopterygium pulchellum, Seligeria recurvata, Anastrepta orcadensis, Hygrobiella laxifolia and Marsupella funckii worthy of mention.

7 April. First stop was Clegyrnant, near Mynydd Rhiw Saeson. There was little that we had not seen earlier on the meeting, but Dicranella subulata, Drepanocladus revolvens var. intermedius*, D. vernicosus, Rhabdoweisia denticulata, Anthoceros husnotii* and Barbilophozia atlantica were additions. Finally we went to Cwm Cywarch (v.-c. 48), whose magnificent crags swarmed with orange climbers like spider mites. Savage sleety squalls kept most of the field to the lower ground, where they found Barbilophozia barbata, Cephaloziella stellulifera, Leiocolea muelleri and Scapania scandica. Those who reached the crags reported Campylopus setifolius, Dicranodontium denudatum var. alpinum, Ditrichum zonatum, Rhacomitrium ellipticum, Bazzania tricrenata, Blepharostoma trichophyllum, Cephaloziella pearsonii, Gymnomitrion concinnatum, G. crenulatum, G. obtusum and Herberta adunca.

On various days members had stopped by the River Severn on their way back to Gregynog. Grimmia retracta, Tortula laevipila var. laevipiliformis* and T. papillosa* were found in this way near Welshpool, and Fissidens crassipes near Newtown. One member in particular searched – mainly by the Severn and Wye – for tuberous mosses. Many vice-county records resulted: Bryum sauteri 42*, B. violaceum 43*, 47*, Dicranella staphylina 42*, 43*, and Tortula stanfordensis 37*. 40*. 42*, 43*. Mid Wales in general, and Montgomeryshire in particular, had hitherto been rather neglected. It was agreeable to find that the neglect was undeserved.

M.O. Hill