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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


Steps!


Dragon Horn lichen, Cladonia squamosa s. lat.


Sessile Oaks and cliffs


Long-Tailed Tit, Aegithalos caudatus


Cliffs


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 (britishbryologicalsociety.org.uk)


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 – bustimes.org 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 (woodlandtrust.org.uk)


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 (festrail.co.uk)


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 (traveline.cymru) 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


Afon-Cwm-mynach


Possibly, Chrome Sphagnum. Sphagnum squarrosum

Sheep!


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 (mindat.org)


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 (woodlandtrust.org.uk)


The Mawddach Estuary


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










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