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  • Writer's pictureSim Elliott

Coed Lletywalter, Coed Aber Artro, Coed Cymerau Isaf & Coed Garth 16-18.08.23

Updated: Oct 6, 2023

From the 16th to the 18th of August, whilst on holiday in Porthmadog, I visited four smaller Oak Woodlands. This post contains the landscape and biological highlights of those woods; but are not accounts of everything I saw. This post also includes some photographs from the Morfa Dyffryn National Nature Reserve (a sand dune reserve) and the Snowdonia Slate Trail from Coed Cymerau Isaf to Blaenau Ffestiniog

All sections of text in italics are quotations, sources sited.

The photographs are presented in the chronological order of my walks in each location

I am only an amateur naturalist; thus all identifications are provisional; if you note a mistake in identification please feel free to tell me. If you want to contact me about any aspect of this blog, email me at simeon[underscore]elliott[at]gmail[dot]com.

Theses are not systematic ecological surveys of these locations; just the things that caught my eye in these wonderful landscapes.

Coed Lletywalter and Coed Aber Artro 16.08.23

Coed Coed Lletywalter and Coed Aber Artro are a 45 minute walk from the village of Lanbedr in North Wales. I caught the train from Porthmadog to Lanbedr. It takes 1hr 25 minutes on the train and the trains goes once every two hours. Lanbedr is a request stop so you need to tell the train guard you want to get off there.

Coed Lletywalter

This wood is a designated Site of Special Scientific Interest and is part of the Meirionnydd Oakwoods and Bat Sites Special Area of Conservation. [The] Oak trees [are] clad in mosses and lichens. Coed Lletywalter - Woodland Trust

Coed Lletywalter is a substantial broadleaved woodland .. Sessile oak is most abundant in the canopy, alongside birch and some sycamore. Beech, a tree not thought native to North Wales, was formerly abundant in parts of the wood, although this was largely removed during thinning operations in the 2000s. Ash is present on milder soils and alder and willow occupy wetter patches. The almost complete absence of old trees indicates substantial selected felling, perhaps during World War II. ... The wood is extremely varied topographically, with cliffs, rocky knolls, streams, small glades and boulder strewn slopes. Mosses and liverworts carpet areas of the wood where boulders and rock outcrops are abundant. ... A small lake supports a range of wetland plants with stands of bottle sedge, common club rush and marsh cinquefoil. The site’s epiphytic lichen flora is somewhat under-developed, however, there is a population of tree lungwort around a historic abandoned small holding at Cwrt. Coed Lletywalter | Celtic Rainforests Wales

I searched for Tress Lungworts, but couldn't find them!

Common Haircap Moss, Polytrichum commune

Possibly, Flat-top Bogmoss, Sphagnum fallax

Sessile Oaks,Quercus petraea, and mosses in an area bog

Purple-Loosestrife, Lythrum salicaria in the lake

Water Horsetail, Equisetum fluviatile in the lake

Water Mint Mentha aquatica in the lake

Probably, Membranous Pelt Lichen, Peltigera membranacea

Horizontal Pelt Lichen, Peltigera horizontalis, on Sessile Oak, Quercus petraea

Fox-tail Feather-Moss, Thamnobryum alopecurum

Well-grown Thamnobryum alopecurum in lowland woodland habitat is easy to recognise from its dendroid growth form – no other woodland moss has a blackish ‘stalk’ devoid of true leaves below a bushy ‘canopy’ of secondary shoots. Like Eurhynchium striatum, this moss can detach itself from the ground and roll around like tumbleweed. Thamnobryum alopecurum - British Bryological Society


Dragon Horn lichen, Cladonia squamosa s. lat.

Sessile Oaks and cliffs

Long-Tailed Tit, Aegithalos caudatus


Cow Wheat, Melampyrum pratense

Coed Aber Artro

Coed Aber Artro is a component of the well-wooded local landscape to the east of the village of Llanbedr. Characterised by semi-natural broad leaved woodland (mainly semi-natural ancient woodland) and dominated by sessile oak with ash and alder in the damper areas. Coed Aber Artro | Celtic Rainforests Wales

Tree Creeper, Certhia familiaris, and Polypody Ferns Polypodium vulgare on Sessile Oak

Polypody Ferns,Polypodium vulgare, on Sessile Oak

European Goldenrod, Solidago virgaurea

Dragon Horn, Cladonia squamosa

Pile of logs with mosses and liverworts on them

Mamillate Plait-Moss, Hypnum andoi, on logs

Tamarisk Scalewort, Frullania tamarisci on logs. F. tamarisci forms widely spreading patches that often grow closely appressed to the substrate, or sometimes forms larger, bushy masses. It is equally common on rocks and trees, and also grows in turf, especially in coastal areas. Abundant in the west, but much rarer in the east of England . Frullania-tamarisci.pdf (

Common Darter, Sympetrum striolatum

Broom Forkmoss, Dicranum scoparium

A stream

A pond formed by damming the stream

Possibly Platyhypnidium Moss, Rhynchostegium riparioides, on dam

European Comma, Polygonia c-album

Morfa Dyffryn National Nature Reserve

At the end of my visits to Coed Lletywalter and Coed Aber Artro I had some time before my return train to Porthmadog, so I walked from the station to the beech and dues of Morfa Dyffryn

This impressive coastal landscape is one of our richest natural treasures and home to a wide range of plants and animals, all especially adapted to life at the edge of the sea.

The dunes may look bare and inhospitable to us, but they are home to some very specialised plants and animals that depend upon this strange environment for their survival.

The flat areas between dunes (slacks) become waterlogged in winter and often stay damp well into summer.

The slacks develop a colourful display of wildflowers which make Morfa Dyffryn a great place for butterflies and insects. Some invertebrate species that are nationally rare or scarce in the United Kingdom are found here. Natural Resources Wales / Morfa Dyffryn National Nature Reserve, near Barmouth

Sea Holly, Eryngium maritimum

Common Evening-Primrose, Oenothera biennis

European Searocket, Cakile maritima

Common Glasswort, Salicornia europaea

Common Glasswort, Salicornia europaea

View to the Snowdonia mountains

Coed Cymerau Isaf 17.09.23

I reached Coed Cymerau bus taking the 3B bus form Porthmadog to Llan Ffestiniog (the village, not Blaenau Ffestiniog) 3B - Porthmadog - Blaenau Ffestiniog – Llew Jones Coaches, Lloyds Coaches – ca. 30mins; irregular bus times, approximately one an hour. From Llan Ffestiniog (pub sign on map) I walked down the Snowdonia Slate Path and crossed the Afon Dwyryd (foot bridge) and walked up the A498; this is a busy main road but there is a verge that you can walk on. The path into Coed (parc) Cymerau isaf is by a small car park on the A498

The tree canopy is dominated by sessile oak with downy birch, on very acidic, shallow soils. Hazel is present where deeper and richer soils permit. Rowan, holly, ash, and the occasional beech and sycamore are also present. There is abundant regeneration of oak. Bilberry is abundant with some heather, a mixture of grasses including wavy hair and a distinct and typical community of mosses, liverworts and ferns. .... Coed Cymerau | Celtic Rainforests Wales

View of Yy Wydda, Mount Snowdown, from Llan Ffestiniog

Fox-and-Cubs, Pilosella aurantiaca in he church yard of Church of St Michael, Llan Ffestiniog

Possibly Horizontal Pelt Lichen, Peltigera horizontalis on the Slate Trail

Woolly Fringe-moss, Racomitrium lanuginosum, on a dry stone wall next to the trail

Concentric Boulder Lichen, Porpidia crustulata

Hard Fern, Blechnum spicant

Branch with Mamillate Plait-Moss, Hypnum andoi and Black Stone Flower, Parmotrema perlatum, on a log fallen across the Afon Teigl

The Afon Teigl

Coed Cymerau Isaf

The site forms part of the Meirionydd Oakwoods and Bat Sites Special Area of Conservation. The tree canopy is dominated by sessile oak with downy birch, on very acidic, shallow soils. Hazel is present where deeper and richer soils permit. Rowan, holly, ash, and the occasional beech and sycamore are also present. There is abundant regeneration of oak. Bilberry is abundant with some heather, a mixture of grasses including wavy hair and a distinct and typical community of mosses, liverworts and ferns. publicmanagementplan (

Common Polypody, Polypodium vulgare on Sessile Oak

Little Shaggy-Moss, Rhytidiadelphus loreus

Tamarisk Scalewort, Frullania tamarisci

Globe Ball Lichen, Sphaerophorus globosus

Scaly Male Fern, Dryopteris affinis; an indicator of ancient woodland

Mouse-tail Moss, Pseudisothecium myosuroides

Possibly Flowery Lichen, Usnea florida

After visiting Coed Cymerau I walked further along the Snowdonia Slate Trail to Blaenau Ffestiniog and I saw these things. The path goes through woods and then rises into an area of upland blanket bog.

Fro Coed Cymerau I walked a little way up the A496 then turned right (east) onto the Snowdonian Slate Trail through Tan-y-Bryn

Fly Agaric, Amanita muscaria

Common Carder Bee, Bombus pascuorum on European Goldenrod, Solidago virgaurea

Marsh Woundwort, Stachys palustris

In a small stream, from a mountain sprin:; probably Toothed Peatmoss,Sphagnum cuspidatum

and Common Water-Starwort, Callitriche stagnalis

Variegated Foam Lichen, Stereocaulon vesuvianum, on a dry-stone wall; a characteristic lichen of Western uplands

Thallus pale grey, initially squamulose but then, in its typical form, with tufts of ascending to erect, pale pinkish-orange branches (pseudopodetia), to 4cm, bearing abundant, rounded, flattened, deeply crenate scales (phyllocladia) that are grey in the centre when mature and damp, very variable in form but frequently reminiscent of smoke plumes from a volcano (hence 'vesuvianum'), globose clusters of soredia often present at the tips of the pseudopodetia, wrinkled brown to black cephalodia sometimes also produced; apothecia frequent, dark brown, button-like, on tips of upper side-branches. Stereocaulon vesuvianum | NatureSpot

Woolly Fringe-Moss, Racomitrium lanuginosum, on a dry stone wall

The dry stone wall that forms the substrate of the above three species

Probably Yellow-green Rock Moss, Racomitrium heterostichum

Soft Rush, Juncus effusus

Common Heather, Calluna vulgaris

Gorse, Ulex europaeus and Bell Heather, Erica cinerera

Cross-leaved Heath, Erica tetralix; characteristic of wet heath and bog

Common Mouse-ear Chickweed, Cerastium fontanum

An area of upland blanket bog directly south of Blaenau Ffestiniog

Common Butterwort, Pinguicula vulgaris

A rosette-forming, insectivorous perennial herb of damp, nutrient-poor, acidic or base-rich habitats, overwintering as a rootless bud. It is found in blanket bogs ... Pinguicula vulgaris L. in BSBI Online Plant Atlas 2020

Probably Toothed Peatmoss, Sphagnum cuspidatum

Probably Toothed Peatmoss, Sphagnum cuspidatum

Bogbean, Menyanthes trifoliata

White Beak-Sedge, Rhynchospora alba

A perennial sedge of base-poor acidic bogs, wet heaths and mires, often in association with Sphagnum species. It is intolerant of competition, preferring open sites, and is frequently found on bare wet peat, sometimes in shallow standing water. It is characteristic of western areas of Britain and Ireland where annual rainfall exceeds 1,200 mm. Rhynchospora alba (L.) Vahl in BSBI Online Plant Atlas 2020

Heath Spotted Orchid, Dactylorhiza maculata

Lesser Spearwort Ranunculus flammula

Blaenau Ffestiniog and its slate spoil heaps.

From Blaenau Ffestiniog I got the stream train back to Porthmadog. See: Train Services - Ffestiniog & Welsh Highland Railways (

Coed Garth 16.08.23

Nestled in the spectacular Mawddach Valley, Coed Garth Gell is a woodland and heathland nature reserve which is internationally important for the rare mosses, liverworts and lichens which grow amongst the ancient oaks. Pied flycatchers, redstarts, wood warblers and lesser horseshoe bats all call this wonderful place home. Mawddach Valley, Coed Garth Gell Nature Reserve, Dolgellau - The RSPB

To get to Coed Garth from Porthmadog I took the T2 bus to LC-T2-15-02-2021.pdf ( to Llanelltyd; a 45 minute journey but the bus goes irregularly, between 1 and 2 hours between each service. From Llanelltyd (Ll on map below) there is a 2.5 mile walk to the entrance to reserve, along a busy road (A496) with no pavement and in places no verge. An alternative is to get the train to Barmouth from Porthmadog and then take the X94 bus and get off at Taicynhaeaf The stop is 0.5 miles from the reserve.

You can enter the reserve from the road at the path near Borthwnog, or the path 200m further west. The walk is circular - and involves some steep uphill and downhill walking

The visitor trails weave through beautiful oak woodland with a fast-flowing river in the valley bottom. Part of the reserve’s nature trail follows the route of an old gold mining track, and the remains of buildings and other structures associated with the abandoned gold mines can still be seen around the reserve. The views at the top of the reserve along the Mawddach Valley and up to Cadair Idris are some of the most admired in Britain. The nature trail is rugged and steep in places, so sturdy footwear is essential. Coed Garth Gell | Celtic Rainforests Wales

Sessile Oak, Quercus petraea, with Polypody Ferns, Polypodium sp. and mosses

Fly Agaric,Amanita muscaria

The wooded slopes of Garth Gell

View of the Mawddach estuary

Bell Heather, Erica cinerea and Common Heather, Calluna vulgaris

Frullania dilatata, Dilated scalewort

Unknown fungus

A view from the area of upland heath and blanket bog, above the trees, to the Mawddach Estuary

There was a small area of blanket bog at Garth Gell which had much Bog Myrtle, Myrica gale

Bilberry, Vaccinium myrtillus A calcifugous low shrub that is locally dominant with Calluna vulgaris in well-drained heathlands and moorland, especially in upland areas, and as an understorey in birch, pine and oak woods; it is also common in peat bogs in northern and western Britain. Vaccinium myrtillus L. in BSBI Online Plant Atlas 2020

Steps through the bog

Jointed Rush, Juncus articulatus

Architectural Sessile Oak

Polypodium Fern on Sessile Oak

Probably Flowery Lichen, Usnea florida

Probably Smoky Bracket, Bjerkandera adusta

Varied Rag Lichen, Platismatia glauca

Probably Flowery Lichen, Usnea florida

Sessile Oak and Polypody Ferns


Possibly, Chrome Sphagnum. Sphagnum squarrosum


Scaly Male Fern, Dryopteris affinis

Common Heather, Calluna vulagris

Hard Fern, Blechnum spicant

Dog Pelt Lichen, Peltigera canina

Remains of the former Garth Gell gold mine;

A small and unsuccessful mine, worked for several years in the 1860s, and again at the start of the 20th century, on the strike of various lodes on the west bank of the Cwm-mynach river.

Several short adits were driven, including two on the eastward extension of the Clogau St David's lode. However, mineralisation was poor, the only recorded output being in 1900, with 5 ounces of gold being produced from 26 tons of ore. Other associated ore minerals include chalcopyrite, pyrite, sphalerite and galena Garthgell Mine, Llanelltyd, Gwynedd, Wales, UK (

Probably String-of-sausage Lichen, Usnea articulata

Common Cow-Wheat, Melampyrum pratense

One of a series of waterfalls running into the Cwm-mynach gorge

Cwm-mynach Gorge; The lower gorge of the Afon Cwm Mynach is also notable for its lower plant flora. Mining remains offer roost sites for bat species such as the Lesser horseshoe, while riparian habitats present opportunities for species such as otter and small pearl-bordered fritillary. publicmanagementplan (

The Mawddach Estuary

A Common Buzzard, Buteo buteo, on the banks of the Mawddach



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