Thursday, May 19, 2011

Corals Caves and Caterpillars

And a few flowers of course

The trip on Sunday 16th May was a great success with a keen bunch of members, and some new fiends who will hopefully become members taking to the hills above Penwyllt in the Swansea valley. The walk was to take place in the Ogof Fynnon Ddu Nature reserve which was the first national nature reserve in the UK to be defined specifically because of it's caves. It does however contain a lot more than that as we were to see

After a brief introduction to the geology we headed up the tramway to the limestone pavement which was to be the feature of the day botanically.

Arriving there it was plain to see the difference botanically between the sheep grazed are outside the fencing, and the  area inside that was flourishing

But before we focused on that there was at least a moment to admire the superb corals in the limestone such as this colony which was nearly half a meter across


There were a number of plants we had come to see, but probably the most noteworthy for the site was the Hairly Greenweed (Genista pilosa)  which the society were asked to see whether it was still present on our last formal trip up some 15 years ago. Just as then we were able to find it and can report that there are a few patches so it looks healthy


As well as the plants we were able to find quite a few moth caterpillars, sunning themselves on the rocks. I believe this is some form of eggar Caterpillar and they were very common on the pavement   

We retreated from the top of the hill for our lunch because of some slight rain and took shelter in the entrance of Ogof Fynnon ddu which is the deepest ave in the UK when measured top to bottom .


As we were not fully equipped we were only able to shelter just inside the entrance and admire the scale of the passages

After this we descended to the old Silica brick works via the tram road and admired what man can achieve and how much of the landscape is not natural. Since returning home I have purchased the excellent Penwyllt book by Peter Burgess  which means I know a lot more about the site now and I should clearly have read it before I started

Oh well.. maybe next time

Regards
Andy

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