Monday, March 14, 2016

A canal walk to start the season

The main event last week was a gentle start to our recording season with a canal walk from Gilwern to Llangattock. As one of our number remarked this canal is unusual in not having an associated railway - we suspect because the industry it served was already in decline by the railway age. 

There was plenty of botanical interest and we were able to identify a good proportion of the different species seen giving a good list for the day.
Surprisingly - for a 3 mile stretch - there was only one modern road bridge between our start and finish. But there were plenty of bridges such as this one - once important for routes now preserved as public rights of way. 
Hedera hibernica, Atlantic Ivy was seen along the route - sometimes with magnificent colour as here.
And near Llangattock we encountered some of the first Blackthorn (Prunus spinosa) flowering in the county. [Or did we - Paul Green has pointed out this might well be Cherry Plum, Prunus cerasifera and I suspect he is right!]

And in a south facing hedgebank a very early Greater Stitchwort, Serenllys mawr or Stellaria holostea
The remains of a once great estate included this magnificent Wellingtonia or Sequoiadendron giganteum - certainly planted.

(Thanks to Sue for the photographs - my camera battery ran out early on and I had failed to bring the spare...)

Then, this weekend, the fine weather brought on some Whitlow-grass into flower near where I live in Hay. It turns out to be the same species we first identified in Brecon last year and obviously ready to be found elsewhere in the county:
Glabrous Whitlowgrass, Llysiau’r-bystwn llyfn or Erophila glabrescens

and again closer up.
At the beginning of last week I pottered around between Erwood and Builth looking for Mistletoe - I didn't find any but did encounter this magnificent Wye view from Little Hill.