Friday, June 26, 2015


We made a start on my National Plant Monitoring Scheme square on Thursday. "SO1522" or a 1 square kilometre of land mostly above the small village of Bwlch on the A40 and conveniently accessible. We had to select three 5m squares from a grid of suggestions (with licence to move them for convenience) and two linear plots 25m long and 1m wide.

In addition I had every intention of trying to record everything we could see anywhere in the square as I normally do.

We were greeted on the Beacon's Way as we entered the square by festoons of Ground Elder in flower. (I'm much more used to seeing leaves.)
Ground-elder, Llysiau’r gymalwst or Aegopodium podagraria

The moorland high up looked uniform and selecting places to record wasn't easy, but convenience and ease of locating the site again in the future suggested we set up our first square by the cairn:
Our first recording square with 5m square laid out using a rope with knots every 5m.

Doing this proved a long process - mainly as it took a while to work out which grasses we had in the square - but this proved to stand us in good stead for the rest of the day with it being quite easy at each subsequent area to tick off most of the species quickly and then explore for "new" ones.

In fact I now feel this is quite a good approach for recording in relatively uniform landscape
- pick a likely patch and do all the grasses before moving on...

We moved on over the hill to the next area and found a suitable recording area near the second path across the hill and then went downhill where we came upon a deeply cut stream, not on the OS map, that presented an ideal natural line for the first linear plot.

And very productive it was with:
Slender St John's-wort, Eurinllys meinsyth or Hypericum pulchrum

Tufted Forget-me-not, Sgorpionllys siobynnog or Myosotis laxa

Bog Pimpernel, Gwlyddyn-Mair y gors or Anagallis tenella

Then further down the track Sue spotted this - which I had already passed by:
Trailing St John's-wort, Eurinllys ymdaenol or Hypericum humifusum

Not one that gets onto the NPMS data but a definite record for the square for BSBI Atlas purposes.

And so to Bwlch Quarry - long since abandoned and freely accessible with one of the 5km suggested squares right on the quarry floor:

Here we set up a square exactly where proposed by the NPMS map and found this plant amongst many others. There is a definite sign here that quarrying Old Red Sandstone releases rich interstitial rock which can support a wide flora:
Common Cudweed, Edafeddog lwyd or Filago vulgaris

There was also abundant Fairy Flax and Carline Thistle.

There was plenty to record on the way back to the car along the lanes - we identified the second 25m linear plot but didn't formally do it - out of time...

This was definitely a garden escape in this environment:
Monk's-hood, Cwcwll y mynach or Aconitum napellus

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