I stole an afternoon away between the showers to visit Caerau Uchaf, a small [2.4ha] SSSI near Bala. It's a group of unimproved meadows on a south-facing slope and is a stunning example of the sort of flowery fields we have mostly lost. The lower land is very wet, with abundant Carnation Sedge, Carex panicea and other wetland plants such as Bugle, Ajuga reptans, Lousewort, Pedicularis sylvatica, Marsh Hawk's-beard, Crepis paludosa, Greater Bird's-foot Trefoil, Lotus pedunculatus and Cuckoo flower, Cardamine pratensis, and dotted about with Heath Spotted-orchid, Dactylorhiza maculata.
|The first Euphrasias of the year|
The dryer upper slopes were bright with Red Clover, Trifolium pretense, Bird's-foot-trefoil, Lotus corniculatus, Pignut, Conopodium majus and an abundance of Euphrasia arctica subsp borealis, the first Eyebright I'd seen this year. Other parts of the fields had excitements such as Rough Hawkbit, Leontodon hispidus and an abundance of Pale Sedge, Carex pallescens, and in the shady edges of the fields were masses of Wood Horsetail, Equisetum sylvaticum. There were vetches such as Vicia cracca, Tufted Vetch and Lathyrus linifolius, Bitter-vetch, but no sign yet of the vascular plant feature of the SSSI, Vicia orobus, Wood Bitter-vetch.
I hope that it's just too early for it and that it will appear in a month or so, and I will look forward to a return visit later in the summer, when I expect to be able to add to the list of >100 species I recorded there last Saturday afternoon.