Our base for the meeting was Glynhir near Llandybie, an 18th century mansion house with stone-built out-buildings converted into cottages and flats, and set in 200 acres of pasture and woodland. Sam Bosanquet, Lorna Fraser, Jonathan Graham (Saturday-Wednesday), Mark Lawley, Graham Motley (local secretary), Jean Paton, Mark Pool, and David and Marjorie Rycroft stayed at Glynhir, with Richard Fisk, Roy Perry (Saturday-Monday) and Phil Stanley (Saturday-Monday) staying in other nearby accommodation. Some local naturalists joined up with us on one or more days. A BSBI group, led by Richard Pryce and Arthur Chater, was also at Glynhir for the first part of the week.
One of the main purposes of the meeting was to aid recording for a bryophyte flora of Carmarthenshire (VC 44). Many of the localities visited during the week were bryologically unexplored or under-recorded, and most sites had not been visited by Jonathan, Graham or Sam, who between them have been recording in the county on-and-off over the past ten years. Apart from what was quite literally a five-minute visit to Breconshire (VC 42) on one of the days, all localities were in VC 44.
Saturday 29 June
Mynydd Du (SN71)
On his way to Glynhir, Sam visited three under-recorded tetrads on moorland north of Brynaman. The degraded bogs and exposed Millstone Grit block screes in the Bwlchau Rhos-fain area proved unproductive, and Nardia compressa in the Aman Fawr was the only notable species found. A disused Carboniferous Limestone quarry high on Cefn Carn Fadog (at 512 m altitude) was more interesting. Scapania cuspiduligera was locally frequent on the quarry floor and on spoil heaps, Blepharostoma trichophyllum was found on limestone spoil, and Leiocolea badensis was collected from flushed turf.
As members arrived at Glynhir mid-afternoon, most were greeted by a displaying male peacock. The noisy behaviour of this and the other peacocks/hens meant that they would be a major talking point during the week. Before dinner, Graham, Jonathan, Sam, Mark Pool and Jean set off to explore the wooded gorge in the Glynhir grounds and bumped into Mark Lawley and Lorna who were just returning from the waterfall. Mark had found Jubula hutchinsiae, a new 10-km record for the species and an excellent start to the meeting. The main group pushed on into the woodland, which proved to be rather acidic, often with a dense understorey of rhododendron and laurel. We worked our way down into the gorge, which is located on the Lower Coal Measures, and were rewarded with a fine sheet of Tunbridge Filmy-fern (Hymenophyllum tunbrigense) on the opposite bank. The gorge was very steep-sided and difficult to work. Thamnobryum alopecurum was the dominant bryophyte. Other species recor ded included Hookeria lucens, Jungermannia atrovirens, Plagiomnium rostratum, Lejeunea lamacerina and Hyocomium armoricum, with Saccogyna viticulosa, Amphidium mougeotii and Diphyscium foliosum on an outcrop near the waterfall. As we clambered back up the slope Mark Pool spotted Lophocolea fragrans on a small rock outcrop and seconds later he found Fissidens celticus in typical habitat on a sparsely vegetated bank.
Sunday 30 June
Laugharne-Pendine Burrows (SN2508 – SN3207)
Most of us were awoken at around 6.00 a.m. by the peacocks, whose calls easily masked those of the cockerel! Richard Pryce had arranged for the BSBI and BBS groups to visit the extensive dune system at Pendine, an MOD site. Local Countryside Council for Wales conservation officers Nigel Stringer, Sarah Andrews and George Johnson joined us for the day. After much form filling we were eventually let loose on the dunes. First stop was a rather dry area where bryophyte interest was limited, but Mark Pool found Didymodon luridus and there was a fine show of Common Twayblade (Listera ovata), Pyramidal Orchid (Anacamptis pyramidalis), Early Marsh-orchid (Dactylorhiza incarnata) and Southern Marsh-orchid (D. praetermissa). Roy Perry and Phil Stanley, who had been delayed due to traffic congestion, arrived in style, escorted to our group by a police vehicle. For obvious reasons, the Ordnance Survey maps of the area show very little detail and it was often difficult to get our bearings. Luckily, David was in possession of a hand-held Global Positioning System (GPS) and regularly called out the grid references, although on several occasions the GPS went haywire, which resulted in some speculation as to the reasons why.
We quickly moved a short distance to our next stop. By the track there was a promising-looking damp area with frequent Variegated Horsetail (Equisetum variegatum), but apart from Aneura pinguis it yielded little else. Over a dune ridge, another damp area was covered in Marsh Pennywort (Hydrocotyle vulgaris) and Calliergonella cuspidata, with a little Drepanocladus polygamus and D. aduncus. Despite the rather limited bryoflora our interest was sustained by vascular plants such as Sharp Rush (Juncus acutus) and Adder’s-tongue (Ophioglossum vulgatum).
Further along the track, some willow scrub attracted our attention and was found to support a variety of epiphytes including Ulota phyllantha, Orthotrichum tenellum and Cololejeunea minutissima. Vascular plants in damp grassland and fen included Moonwort (Botrychium lunaria), Cyperus Sedge (Carex pseudocyperus) and Greater Bladderwort (Utricularia vulgaris). Drier dunes yielded Tortella tortuosa and Syntrichia ruraliformis. Arthur Chater demonstrated Sticky Stork’s-bill (Erodium lebelii) to some of us. As cars moved off to the next site, Graham and Richard were a bit slow off the mark, and it was only by sheer luck that they refound the main group amidst the maze of tracks.
At this point we separated from the BSBI group and continued to the far eastern end of the dunes to some slacks where Petalophyllum ralfsii had previously been reported. Tortella flavovirens var. flavovirens, Trichostomum brachydontium and T. crispulum were quickly located. Nearby, a relatively fresh blow-out had only a few bryophytes (mainly Bryum bicolor) but on a more muddy substrate David found Riccia cavernosa at only its second site in the vice-county. Some more mature slacks yielded Campylium stellatum, Drepanocladus polygamus and Bryum algovicum var. rutheanum, but the uncommon Drepanocladus species we were hoping for were absent.
We rejoined the BSBI group at a slack known to support Fen Orchid (Liparis loeselii). Several specimens of the orchid, some in flower, were quickly located and admired by all. Calliergonella cuspidata was again the dominant bryophyte in this area, with some more Campylium stellatum. Drepanocladus aduncus was found in a ditch. The willows had a similar epiphytic flora to that seen earlier, but with some additional species including Orthotrichum lyellii, Cryphaea heteromalla and Microlejeunea ulicina. The tarmac road leading off the dunes provided several new species for the day, including, rather unusually, Cinclidotus fontinaloides.
The bryophyte flora of the dunes was rather disappointing, although we only examined a small fraction of them and at an unfavourable time of year. It appears that the dunes have suffered in recent years due to a lack of grazing and probably a lack of disturbance by the military. However, most people were of the opinion that the quality of the vascular plants more than made up for the lack of bryophytes.
Returning to Glynhir, a few of us were keen to visit a disused dolerite quarry on the Llansteffan peninsula near Llangynog where, among other uncommon species, Sam had found Grimmia laevigata earlier in the year. By now the weather had taken a turn for the worse which tested the enthusiasm of the group. Sam was unable to relocate the original spot for G. laevigata, but did find a different tuft, thereby instantly doubling the known Carmarthenshire population of the species. He also found a tuft of a rather spiky-looking Grimmia nearby, which turned out to be G. lisae*. Rocks on the quarry floor supported Racomitrium lanuginosum, Ptychomitrium polyphyllum and Hedwigia stellata, all many kilometres from their nearest known sites. Diplophyllum obtusifolium was spotted on a friable bank and Lophozia excisa was collected from a damp part of the quarry floor. Just along the road from the quarry we stopped briefly at a roadside bank known to support a population of Rhodobryum roseum, but only a single stem could be located in the gloom.
After dinner, Richard Fisk treated us to a display of some of the digital images he had taken during the day, including some lovely shots of Riccia cavernosa and Liparis. He also demonstrated the distribution of some arable Bryum species in relation to soils in his home county of Suffolk.
Monday 1 July
Allt yr Hebog (SN6844)
Our first stop of the day was an oak-dominated woodland, Allt yr Hebog, situated on Silurian shales on the north-eastern side of a hill rising above the village of Cwrt y Cadno. We met up with Nigel Stringer and Chris Forster-Brown in the village, and then worked our way to the woodland via a stream valley where Diplophyllum obtusifolium, Jungermannia gracillima, Nardia scalaris, Dicranella rufescens and Fissidens celticus were located in typical habitats. The woodland was dominated by rather even-aged and relatively young trees, with a ground flora dominated by Bilberry (Vaccinium myrtillus) and Rhytidiadelphus loreus, and with occasional patches of Sphagnum quinquefarium. Bazzania trilobata was located by the track and Cephalozia lunulifolia was found on a rotting log. With few natural rock outcrops, new records quickly dried up and we decided to cut short our visit and move on to the next site. As Sam turned t o come back down the slope, he spotted Jamesoniella autumnalis* at head height on an oak trunk; David found a second colony on another nearby tree. Before we left the site Mark Pool collected Zygodon rupestris from a large ash by the road.
Creigiau Ladis (Merched), Mynydd Mallaen (SN7245)
The weather began to deteriorate and the drizzle turned to heavy rain so we took an early lunch in our cars. With the rain still falling, we walked to our next site on the north-western edge of Mynydd Mallaen – an extensive area of upland commonland. Sam separated from the main group to record a blank tetrad on the western edge of the hill. The results were disappointing, with highlights being Cynodontium bruntonii and Zygodon rupestris in some rather dry woodland, and more Diplophyllum obtusifolium on a steep roadside bank.
The rest of the group worked a rather tightly grazed stock-holding area, with both acidic and base-enriched flushes. The most basic flushes had frequent Drepanocladus revolvens s.str., and a small patch of Scorpidium scorpioides was also found. Breutelia chrysocoma and Calliergon sarmentosum were present at the edges of some flushes, and Odontoschisma sphagni was creeping over a hummock of Sphagnum subnitens. Oligotrichum hercynicum, Dicranella palustris, Hyocomium armoricum, Racomitrium aquaticum and Blindia acuta were found by a stream, with Scapania compacta on nearby boulders.
From this enclosed area we wandered onto the open moorland, heading for an area of massive block screes formed of Silurian conglomerates. As we neared the screes, Jean spotted Scapania umbrosa* on a small rock amongst Calluna, the first confirmed county record since H.H. Knight recorded the species from the same area almost 100 years ago. Graham collected a fragrant Kurzia from a nearby heathy bank which Jean later confirmed as K. trichoclados*. While examining the Kurzia, Jean noticed a few stems of Calypogeia neesiana*, which we had overlooked in the field. This area of block scree is largely inaccessible to sheep, and alongside hummocks of Bazzania trilobata were small ‘forests’ of Fir Clubmoss (Huperzia selago) and patches of Wilson’s Filmy-fern (Hymenophyllum wilsonii). Many boulders supported an abundance of Andreaea rothii subsp. falcata, various Racomitrium species and Ptychomitriu m polyphyllum. Jean soon found Anastrophyllum minutum among the boulders and then located Lepidozia pearsonii creeping though pleurocarps, while Graham collected Kurzia sylvatica on a nearby peaty overhang. Nigel, who was busy recording rust fungi on vascular plants, found a small patch of Stag’s-horn Clubmoss (Lycopodium clavatum). Working eastwards through the screes, swelling mounds of Mylia taylorii began to appear in quantity and A. minutum proved to be quite common. David found Douinia ovata on one of the few trees present, a rowan, and another patch was located in deep shade under a massive boulder. Other species recorded in the screes included Cephaloziella hampeana, Tritomaria quinquedentata, Bartramia pomiformis, Dicranum fuscescens and Polytrichum alpinum.
Sam rejoined us just as the rain was easing off, but now an icy wind had begun to blow, making it feel more like November than July. We moved down to a small disused lead mine and associated spoil heaps. Barbilophozia attenuata, B. floerkei and Lophozia bicrenata were present, and another Lophozia with reddish-brown gemmae proved to be L. sudetica. Small tufts of Grimmia donniana were growing on some shaley rocks on the spoil heaps, some with their attractive upright sporophytes. Returning to our cars via the lower edge of the common, we crossed a very wet area with Sphagnum squarrosum and S. teres. The roadsides between the common and the pull-in where our cars were parked produced some useful acrocarp records, including Tortula truncata. Sam and Graham independently found a patch of fruiting Bryum beneath a galvanised roadside barrier near to our cars which was later confirmed as B. pallescens. As most p eople were damp and cold, we returned to our base to change into some dry clothing rather than go to another site. A total of 153 species was recorded at the site.
Nant y Bai lead mine (SN7844)
Roy and Phil spent much of the day at Nant y Bai lead mine where they hoped to find Ditrichum plumbicola, but despite the extensive areas of spoil, the species was absent.
Tuesday 2 July
Bannau Sir Gaer and Llyn y Fan Fach area (SN8021)
The BBS have visited Bannau Sir Gaer (also known as the Carmarthen Fan) on two previous meetings, and so several members opted not to go there on the ‘free day’. Despite being relatively well-known, several species recorded from cliffs elsewhere in the Brecon Beacons National Park have not been found at Bannau Sir Gaer, and this seemed adequate justification to revisit the site. Sam and the two Marks were joined by Alex Turner for the day.
After a quick walk up the track to Llyn y Fan Fach, the group searched the lake sides for a Marchantia, thought to be M. polymorpha subsp. montivagans, that Sam and Graham had seen there in August 2001. It was duly relocated but the consensus was that it was just poorly-marked subsp. polymorpha. The group then headed for the large gully near the western end of the Old Red Sandstone cliffs as this allowed easy access to higher ledges. Things started very well: plenty of Schistidium strictum, Amphidium lapponicum and a little Bryoerythrophyllum ferruginascens were all noted on base-rich sandstone low down in the gully. Further up were Pohlia flexuosa on two gravelly ledges, small patches of Scapania aequiloba and Oedipodium griffithianum, and a fine stand of Encalypta ciliata. A male Jungermannia collected near the bottom of the gully proved to be J. borealis*, a species known previously in sou th Wales only from Craig Cerrig Gleisiad in Breconshire, some 15 km to the east.
After lunch the group separated and members worked eastwards across the crags at different levels. After the riches of the western gully the bryophytes near the base of the crag were slightly disappointing although Metzgeria conjugata, Plagiochila spinulosa, Blepharostoma trichophyllum and Grimmia torquata were all noted for the first time during the day. More exciting were a couple of species collected by Mark Lawley from about halfway up the cliff. Ditrichum zonatum var. zonatum* was new for south Wales, and Andreaea alpina* was the first vice-county record since H.H. Knight collected it in the far north-east of the county. An odd-looking Schistidium bore more than a passing resemblance to S. frigidum, but later examination suggested it was just S. apocarpum s.str. with eroded perichaetial leaves. Things picked up again as we rounded a corner on to north-east-facing cliffs. The tall-herb ledge communitie s increased in lushness with Roseroot (Sedum rosea) becoming abundant and, below them, in crevices and on vertical rock, the bryophyte interest echoed that of the gully. Schistidium strictum, Amphidium lapponicum and Bryoerythrophyllum ferruginascens grew with abundant G. torquata; Isothecium myosuroides var. brachythecioides* was also collected here.
The descent from Llyn y Fan Fach was more leisurely than the outward journey and bryophytes growing on and around the track were recorded, the most interesting being Racomitrium elongatum, found by Mark Pool. The day ended nicely as Sam located female Moerckia hibernica in a base-rich flush near the fish hatchery. M. hibernica was first noted during the 1978 BBS meeting and its continued presence at this, one of only two inland sites in south Wales, was heartening. In total, 109 mosses and 34 liverworts were recorded during the day.
Mynydd y Betws (SN6610) and Carreg Cennen (SN6619)
Graham, Jonathan and Lorna opted to visit several unrecorded tetrads on the Carboniferous Coal Measures at Mynydd y Betws, close to the boundary with Glamorgan. The natural habitats proved to be very acidic and the area was possibly the poorest, bryologically speaking, that either Jonathan or Graham had seen in the county. Roadsides and tarmac provided the bulk of the records. The highlights were Nardia compressa in one of the streams and a patch of Climacium dendroides in a most unlikely spot in the middle of an area of heavily grazed Nardus stricta–Juncus squarrosus acidic grassland. Lorna found Atrichum crispum in quantity in a ditch. Interestingly, the first Carmarthenshire record of A. crispum was made in 1877 by the Reverend Augustine Ley near Glynhir Mansion, Ley having family connections with Glynhir.
Jean and Richard visited the Welsh National Botanic Garden. Although no bryophyte list was made, Jean found Marchantia polymorpha subsp. ruderalis in a pot which had originated from a nursery in north-west Carmarthenshire. Later they visited Carreg Cennen Castle, which sits above Carboniferous Limestone cliffs, where they recorded a variety of calcicoles, including Preissia quadrata, Anomodon viticulosus, Ditrichum gracile, Eucladium verticillatum, Encalypta streptocarpa, Tortella nitida and Eurhynchium striatulum.
Wednesday 3 July
Carmel Woods National Nature Reserve and surrounding area (SN5815 – SN6116)
Our first stop of the day was a disused Carboniferous Limestone quarry at Pentre Gwenlais, part of Carmel Woods National Nature Reserve (NNR). Leiocolea badensis proved to be common in the damper parts of the quarry floor, with L. turbinata on spoil heaps at the quarry edge. Aloina aloides and Didymodon ferrugineus were also present elsewhere in the quarry, the latter becoming locally abundant on the entrance track. Mark Pool spotted Orthotrichum striatum on a willow branch overhanging the path we took out of the quarry. Other epiphytes found on nearby trees included O. affine, O. lyellii, Ulota bruchii, U. crispa, U. phyllantha, Metzgeria temperata, M. fruticulosa, Microlejeunea ulicina and Radula complanata. Further up the path there was a large patch of Campyliadelphus chrysophyllus, and the first fruiting Tortella tortuosa for the county was noted on shaded limestone pavement.
We moved on to a nearby bog, which was notable for its fine stands of Royal Fern (Osmunda regalis). The hepatics Odontoschisma sphagni, Cephalozia connivens, Kurzia pauciflora and Mylia anomala were present on the hummocks, with Cladopodiella fluitans common in the pools. Cephaloziella hampeana, Riccardia latifrons and Calypogeia sphagnicola* were found in smaller quantity growing through Sphagnum. A total of nine Sphagnum species was recorded on the bog.
We then crossed the road from where our cars were parked to a partially quarried gritstone ridge. On the footpath both Marks spotted Archidium alternifolium and Richard located Bryum alpinum complete with tubers. Lophozia bicrenata and, rather strangely, Didymodon ferrugineus were found on shallow peat in a quarried area. The latter species was thought to be receiving some calcareous influence from tarmac dumped nearby.
Llwynyfran Quarry (SN5715)
Our final stop of the day was a long-disused limestone quarry just to the west of the NNR. After a showery day, some members of the group were starting to flag a little. However, the sun came out, providing perfect conditions for observing the numerous small acrocarpous mosses associated with the quarried areas. Rock faces supported Bryoerythrophyllum recurvirostrum, Zygodon viridissimus, Pseudocrossidium revolutum, Campylium stellatum var. protensum, Mnium stellare and Schistidium crassipilum, while damp patches on the quarry floor had Aneura pinguis, Bryum pseudotriquetrum, Campyliadelphus chrysophyllus, Climacium dendroides and Syntrichia ruralis. A fragment of a discarded pair of trousers was notable for supporting Ceratodon purpureus, Encalypta streptocarpa, Rhytidiadelphus squarrosus and Trichostomum crispulum. R. squarrosus was also observed apparently growi ng as an epiphyte on a horizontal willow branch. Later microscope work showed both Thuidium delicatulum and T. philibertii to have been present in the quarry.
Glynhir revisited (SN6315)
We returned to Glynhir for a refreshing cup of tea and afterwards Jonathan set off on his journey home. Sam set up his birding telescope so we could scan the stone tile roofs for the rare Grimmia species that are turning up in this habitat all over the Welsh borders. Most tiles were too basic, mainly supporting G. pulvinata, but one or two tufts were possibly another Grimmia species, and what appeared to be Racomitrium fasciculare was also present. A search was made for material that had fallen off the roof, but most was just Hypnum cupressiforme s.l. Mark Lawley, Sam and Graham then recorded in the grounds of Glynhir before dinner, adding to the records made on the first day and completing cards started the previous day by Jonathan and Lorna. Some walls had abundant Tortella nitida, and elsewhere Homalia trichomanoides, Mnium stellare and Leptodictyum riparium were found.
Thursday 4 July
Fedw Fawr and the Afon Clydach (SN7922 – SN8122)
When the meeting was being planned it had been intended to spend this day in south-east Ceredigion, but a pre-meeting visit to check out the area showed that there was an excessively long walk to get to any decent habitat. Therefore an alternative location on the Old Red Sandstone and similar Silurian sandstones in the easternmost part of Carmarthenshire was chosen. We were joined on the day by Ray Woods, bryophyte recorder for Breconshire.
Our target area for the day was the steep-sided valley of the Afon Clydach, which, as far as we know, has never previously been visited by a bryologist. We parked our cars and walked all of 20 m to examine the banks alongside the uppermost reaches of the River Usk. Sam quickly found Blasia pusilla amongst some gravelly turf and Fossombronia incurva soon followed. Everyone gathered around to see these species when Sam struck gold with Haplomitrium hookeri*. Not to be outdone, Ray waded across the stream into Breconshire (VC 42) and found Blasia and Haplomitrium in similar habitat; Graham joined him and located some F. incurva*. Several samples of what looked like Riccardia incurvata in the field were later confirmed microscopically as just being highly canaliculate R. chamedryfolia. These species alone seemed to justify the change of venue, but this was just the start of what was to prove to be a consistently interesting day. S ome flushed ground adjacent to the stream held Drepanocladus cossonii, Warnstorfia exannulata and Hamatocaulis vernicosus, allowing a comparison of the different field characters of each species. Calliergon giganteum was present in a more basic flush, Jungermannia exsertifolia subsp. cordifolia was recorded in a wet runnel, and Scapania scandica grew on a crumbling bank above the flushes. As we headed northwards, hummocks of Polytrichum strictum were frequent on the moorland, and some large Old Red Sandstone boulders scattered across the moor yielded Pterogonium gracile, a rare plant in the county. Richard Fisk checked a nearby conifer plantation and found Plagiothecium curvifolium, a species which has undoubtedly been overlooked in Carmarthenshire. After a brief lunch stop we made our way through rush-dominated vegetation where Plagiomnium ellipticum, Calliergon cordifolium and Sphagnum squarrosum< /I> were common.
Some low crags on the approach to the Afon Clydach valley yielded Lophozia excisa. Sam spotted some south-facing rock outcrops several hundred metres away and thought they looked worth checking for Hedwigia. His hunch paid off and he found abundant H. stellata, one of only three known sites for the species in the county. We descended into the valley, which proved to be ungrazed and wooded on the western side and grazed and open on the eastern side, thereby providing contrasting habitats. Graham found a rock face with abundant Porella arboris-vitae, a few large tufts of Plagiochila bifaria (P. killarniensis) and Wilson’s Filmy-fern (Hymenophyllum wilsonii). Part of the group clambered up some shaded crags and found P. spinulosa, P. punctata and much more P. bifaria. Further along the stream, as Mark Lawley puzzled over an odd-looking Encalypta specimen from one side of a large boulder, Sam spotted a few pla nts of E. ciliata with capsules (at only 280 m altitude) on the opposite side, allowing us to confirm that the plant Mark was examining was just E. streptocarpa. A while later Sam located only the second modern county record of Philonotis arnellii on a crumbling slope. Other species recorded along the valley included Bartramia pomiformis, Blepharostoma trichophyllum, Preissia quadrata, Ptilidium ciliare, Scapania gracilis, Tritomaria quinquedentata, Tortula subulata var. graeffii, Fissidens rivularis, Hygrohypnum ochraceum, Cynodontium bruntonii and Anomobryum julaceum.
We climbed out of the valley and headed back across the moor towards the cars, stopping at Mawnbwll-du Mawr, a small fenced-off area of bog which, according to Ray, had large patches of bare peat before it was fenced about 20 years ago. No bare peat is visible today and there is a reasonable cover of Sphagnum across the mire surface. Sam located a small hummock of S. magellanicum, only the second county record, near the west end of the bog. A range of hepatics similar to that found on Wednesday was present, including Mylia anomala, Odontoschisma sphagni, Kurzia pauciflora, Riccardia latifrons and Cladopodiella fluitans. Some of the group followed the flush leading out of the bog, which rapidly turned from acidic to basic, and found a few species new for the day, including Scorpidium scorpioides. With the car almost within touching distance Mark Pool rounded the day off nicely with Dicranella cerviculata* on peaty banks, the first post-1950 record of the species in the vice-county. The total of 150 mosses and 61 liverworts was remarkable considering the uniform geology of the area.
Friday 5 July
Nant y Rhaeadr (SN7543)
After the success of Thursday it was felt that the planned trip to some completely unknown country to the north of Carmarthen town might be an anticlimax. Instead, the group were keen to investigate sites in the north-east of the county which we had been unable to visit on Monday. Our first site was Nant y Rhaeadr, a valley situated on Silurian sandstone and shales, with oak woodland, cascades and waterfalls on the south-east flank of Mynydd Mallaen. Despite the reasonable weather forecast it was drizzling and, for the first time during the week, midges were out in force. We walked along a track through Cwm y Rhaeadr plantation where Archidium alternifolium and Bryum alpinum were growing on the track and more Plagiothecium curvifolium was under the conifers. Diplophyllum obtusifolium was again found on crumbling banks – this supposedly scarce species is proving to be widespread in the county. The rain had raised water levels in the river and the waterfall and cascades looked particularly attractive. Scapania gracilis was common on boulders and tree trunks, some fallen trees were covered in Nowellia curvifolia, the woodland banks had frequent Sphagnum quinquefarium, and here and there were small pockets with Saccogyna viticulosa. Jean worked the lower part of the falls where she found Marsupella emarginata var. aquatica and Jungermannia hyalina. Most boulders and outcrops were quite acidic and had a rather limited flora. However, Plagiochila bifaria and P. spinulosa were present, and there were small quantities of Pohlia elongata, Rhabdoweisia fugax, Isopterygiopsis pulchella, Diphyscium foliosum and Metzgeria conjugata. Plagiochila punctata was spotted on an oak tree and Mark Pool found Marsupella funckii and Racomitrium affine at the head of the valley.
Nant Melyn (SN7246)
Lorna departed for home and the rest of us drove to Nant Melyn, an oak-covered ravine woodland on Silurian sandstones opposite the north side of Mynydd Mallaen, stopping briefly on the way to examine a footbridge on which grew Bazzania trilobata and Odontoschisma denudatum. As we entered Nant Melyn, B. trilobata proved to be abundant on the western slopes. Several of us searched fallen logs for Anastrophyllum hellerianum, which is known from the site, and eventually Graham found it in very small quantity on a single log. Other species on fallen logs included Cephalozia lunulifolia, Tritomaria exsectiformis and Dicranodontium denudatum. Sam worked his way up the stream and examined the outcrops on the eastern side of the valley. More Plagiochila punctata, P. spinulosa and Metzgeria conjugata were located, as well as three patches of Sphenolobopsis pearsonii, a second locality for a species found for the first time in the county only a few months earlier. A small patch of Jungermannia was collected and found to be a male example of dioicous J. paroica! Other species recorded in the valley bottom included Lejeunea patens, Campylopus fragilis and Fontinalis squamosa. Jean, Mark Lawley and Richard followed a path which took them around the head of the valley and down the eastern side, where Mark located Marsupella funckii next to the track. In an area of sprayed bracken, Richard found Polytrichum longisetum*, another first modern Carmarthenshire record, which rounded off a most enjoyable week. Most of us were rather damp, and we made our way to Llandovery for a well-earned cup of tea, to reflect on the week and nurse our midge bites.
The meeting exceeded all the local bryologists’ expectations and we found many of the target species we had hoped for and a few more besides. Apart from the peacocks, Glynhir proved to be a suitable HQ. Judging by the questionnaire we were asked to fill in at the end of our stay, the new management is well aware of the avian situation. Although on several days the weather was rather poor, the damp conditions meant that most bryophytes appeared nice and fresh, and we certainly saw many more species than we would have had it been hot and dry. Over the week we saw 253 moss and 107 liverwort species, representing 62% and 68% respectively of the known Carmarthenshire flora. Nine species and varieties were recorded new to VC 44 (and one for VC 42), and four old records were updated.
During the week several members of the group helped to fill in recording cards and gave use of their cars, which was most appreciated. We thank Richard Pryce for arranging the visit to Pendine, Nigel Stringer for helping arrange access to some of the sites, and all the landowners who kindly gave permission for us to wander freely across their land.
Graham Motley, Sam Bosanquet & Jonathan Graham
There are two corrections to the account of this meeting in Bulletin 80, pp 7-16. The record of ‘Grimmia lisae’ from Llangynog on 30 June is incorrect. A specimen of ‘Philonotis arnellii’, recorded from the Afon Clydach valley on 4 July, has been redetermined as P. caespitosa (the first record from v.-c. 44).